Why Spain enjoys export success

Sir, José María Beneyto and Alexandre Perez (“Beware the five common myths about the Spanish economy”, August 24) are right to highlight Spain’s current export success. The surge in sales abroad, however, is almost entirely due to the depressed state of the domestic economy, which apart from anaemic growth in 2011 has been in recession since 2009 and will remain so until 2014, according to the latest official figures. For many companies exporting is a matter of survival.
It is striking that between 1988 and 2012 the contribution of external demand to gross domestic product growth was positive in only seven years and its largest contribution was in 1993 when Spain suffered its last recession, which was mild compared with this one.
Recent history shows that once the economy starts to expand again, external demand’s contribution becomes negative again as exports tail off. The challenge is to maintain the momentum of exports.

William Chislett, Associate Researcher, Elcano Royal Institute, Madrid, Spain