Sunday, August 28, 2011

Scroll down for a Midday EU Special. Which is largely composed of advice for Mrs Merkel from Gordon Brown. Would you believe.

Here in Spain, El País informs us that the steps taken to enshrine some non-defined deficit cap in the Spanish Constitution - effective ages from now - have not had any impact in the bond marketplace. Which is hardly surprising.

Another thing which experts don't think will work is the 4% reduction in the VAT on sales of new properties. A separate article in El País avers that the construction market is stone dead and can't be resuscitated by breathing oxygen into in. This measure, says the paper, is merely an electoral ploy. Ironically, as banks reduce prices on their vast holdings of new and old properties, the almost-certain effect is that other sellers will be forced to reduce their prices as well. So, thanks, Sr. Z. I never did have a high regard for you.

Spain's economic growth for this year was originally forecast by the government at well above one percent. Indeed, as an outgoing administration with nothing to lose, it's still forecasting 1.3%. But no one else is. Until the second quarter results of 0.2% growth came in, the general expectation was something in the region of 0.9%, But, assuming the economy doesn't, as some fear, fall back into recession, 0.8% is now felt to be the best achievable. The significance of this shortfall is that it'll now be harder for the government to meet its target of a budget deficit of 6.0% for this year, as well as the 3% level aimed at for 2013. These compare with 11.1% in 2009. And with something very, very small in the future Constitution.

But there is good news in Spain - the cruise ship market is booming, having grown 18% in the last year. And here in Galicia, we have the world's happiest pig.

On the issue of recession, Ms Lagarde of the IMF has used her first real public appearance to give a "remarkably gloomy assessment of the world economy". To prevent global recession and another credit crisis (which the pessimists feel has already begun), she called for "substantial and mandatory recapitalisation to bolster European banks' balance sheets." This, she says, should first be financed through private channels but could also be sourced from a Europe-wide bail-out fund. More here.

As everyone one knows, Galicia's Camino de Santiago is booming, even if a large percentage of pilgrims enjoy it for non-religious reasons. Here's a report from such pilgrim, in an article - would you believe - in the Jerusalem Post. As these things go, it's not bad but I've never seen any evidence of a wall around Santiago; the Hotel of the Reyes Católicos was originally built as a hospital (not "for the pilgrim trade"); and Galician is called Gallego/Galego, not Galega. The last few paragraphs of the article remind me the (unexpectedly positive) comment of a Jehovah' Witness friend of mine who'd witnessed(!) the same things as the writer - "Not at all how we worship God [as if I didn't know]. But what theatre! Nobody outdoes the Catholic Church when it comes to theatre."

Talking of the Camino, those fascinated to know my own experineces should click here.

Talking of our capital city . . . Interesting to read that Morocco will take part in the 9th Euro Arab Film Festival, to be held there on October 23-30. This, it's reported, is meant to "bring Arab social context and culture closer to the general public, via the international language of cinema." Let's hope so, anyway.

As I set off for Veggie Square this morning, I noticed a chap aged 65 or more sporting a strange cap, ridiculous 3/4 length trouser and white sox. Hello, I thought, an American. We must have a cruise ship group in town. Camera in hand, I searched for more. But, no. He was the only one. And here he is:-

And here's a couple of pix of the elegant Draculín, whom I mentioned a few days ago, complete with walking cane:-

Finally . . . Getting up to leave my table after lunch, I trod on a dog belonging to a woman at the next table. I apologised profusely, of course, but my thoughts ran along the lines of "What do you expect, if you have a dog not much bigger than a large rat"." And I have to confess that I got a lot less pleasure stamping on it accidentally than I would've If it'd had been deliberate. 

Only joking . . .


CafeMark said...

That 4% reduction in tax on new properties seems very curious to me. Perhaps I'm missing something - can anyone enlighten me? I really can't see it as an electroral ploy. Who will it benefit? Certain hard-pressed construction companies and banks no doubt? I've read that the government actually expect to increase tax receipts by doing this, as currently so few transactions are going through. So there is a certain logic in doing it, if it does encourage people (or speculators) to start buying.

Colin said...

Here's the EP article.

I'd put a Google translation here but it would be too long.