Barcelona, Sep 16 (EFECOM).- The president of BBVA, Carlos Torres, warned this Friday that the levy on banks announced by the Spanish Government will mean “a brake on the circulatory system of the economy” that will entail a “lower growth” of the Spanish GDP, “less employment, less wealth and less taxes”.
In an act organized by the Cercle d’Economia, Torres has opined that this new tax may be “counterproductive” for the progress of the Spanish economy, even more so when the Prime Minister himself, Pedro Sánchez, has recognized the “neuralgic” role that the bank has, the bank executive pointed out.
In his view, “the Spanish economy will grow less with this tax than it would without it,” Torres remarked, insisting that banking plays a key role in the “circulatory system” of the economy.
The Congress of Deputies approved precisely this Tuesday to initiate the processing of the bill that introduces this tax, so that from now on a period of amendments opens.
RISK THAT SPAIN “TECHNICALLY” ENTERS A RECESSION
Despite the context of high inflation, Torres commented that, for the time being, delinquency rates “are behaving well” and that BBVA’s card spending data “is still good”, with double-digit growth, for which “doesn’t look like a recession is coming.”
However, he has said that there is “a lot of uncertainty” about what will happen in 2023 and has recalled that for now BBVA estimates that Spanish GDP will grow by 1.8% that year.
However, he has pointed out that the last quarter of 2022 could close with negative year-on-year growth and the same could also happen in the first quarter of 2023, with which Spain could “technically” enter a recession while waiting to see what happens in the second quarter of 2023, has ventured.
INFLATION, THE “MOST CHALLENGING” ELEMENT
In any case, he has assured that the “most challenging” element at the moment is “inflation”. “I would not be obsessed with the growth rate (of the Spanish economy),” Torres assured, adding that the current feeling is that of living in a moment “of calm before the storm.”
“Companies are investing and consumers are spending, but there are sectors and activities that are closing because they cannot afford energy,” he said, although at the same time he stressed that the balance sheets of families and companies are much healthier than in the financial crisis.
In conclusion, the banking director has opined that, faced with the problem of inflation, “mechanisms must be sought to avoid entering into an inflationary spiral.”
On the other hand, he highlighted the good evolution of BBVA’s international business, from Mexico, due to the enormous results it generates, to Turkey, despite the “inflationary crisis” in that country.
Torres has opined that, despite BBVA’s “long-term” commitment to Turkey, the market “has not understood” that the bank will strengthen itself in BBVA Garanti, its Turkish subsidiary. “They have gone a bit too far,” he said in relation to the stock market’s reaction to that operation.
The president of the Cercle, Jaume Guardiola, former CEO of Banco Sabadell until 2021, has been in charge of presenting Torres and reviewing his banking career.
On the other hand, Torres highlighted the good results that BBVA’s commitment to digitization has had, since more than half of new customers (55%) now arrive in this way, when in 2017 the digital channel only generated 6% of new customers, he said.
Likewise, Torres has offered himself to the Spanish Government to help deploy the second wave of European Next Generation funds and has highlighted the bank’s commitment to Catalonia and the volume of business that this community brings to BBVA.
(c) EFE Agency