According to the daily Expansión today, the commercial debt of the Spanish public administrations towards their private suppliers increased to 7.6% of GDP in the third quarter of 2021: “A study by the firm Estudio Económico shows that the commercial debt of the public administrations has increased of 19.907 billion euros in the third quarter of 2021, 28% compared to the same period of the previous year. The total figure would amount to 89.373 billion euros, 7.6% of GDP, and would be the highest amount reached during a third quarter, and the fourth highest of the entire historical series”.
The report is based on Bank of Spain statistics on overdue accounts to non-financial institutions, which include “the value of financial claims resulting from delays between the time transactions take place and the time the corresponding payments are done”. They also analyze consolidated data and therefore do not take into account intergovernmental debt. “According to this methodology, consolidated non-payments therefore become a good indicator for approximating the volume of commercial debt that the public sector has with its private sector suppliers,” they add.
It is relevant to note that the debt has almost returned to 2011 levels, in the midst of the financial crisis, when these outstanding obligations reached an all-time high and came to represent 8.6% of GDP. Between 2007 and 2011, the outstanding amount of general government obligations to the private sector increased by 50.4%, “from more than 30.5 billion euros of unpaid debts, to more than 91.3 billion euros “.
If we compare these figures with other countries such as Germany, Italy and Portugal, the Spanish stock of unpaid bills (measured as a percentage of GDP) is higher and the evolution much more intense; the same is not true of the comparison with France.