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Portugal & Spain

The Portuguese economy is on a continuous growth curve owing to tourism achieving a high peak in 2023. Compared to the same period in 2022, the number of tourists and hotel bookings increased up to 10%. GDP is expected to rise further in 2024, reaching a surplus of 0.1%. The country’s public debt-to-GDP figure is expected to reach 103.4% in 2023 and to contract further to 100.3% in 2024. At the same time, inflation will influence all markets and a slowdown will be seen after the last year’s growth.

The European Commission has issued a recommendation for Portugal to reduce and restructure its existing energy support measures as they are not targeted at the most vulnerable private households and business sectors.

Meanwhile, the Bank of Spain has increased its forecast and now expects GDP growth of 2.3% for 2023, with strong exports and a tourist industry revival supporting the economy; tourism alone contributes as much as 12% to the country’s GDP. Inflation in Spain remains at a comparatively low level and the unemployment rate is at its lowest since 2008.

At the same time, public debt has continued to increase and has already exceeded 111% of GDP. In addition, the existing pensions system is proving unsustainable.

Across Portugal and Spain, overall demand is low for copper as well as for primary and secondary aluminium. Many foundries are purchasing less material owing to low orders and maintenance periods. The worldwide downturn in the automotive industry is also affecting the Portuguese and Spanish markets.

Demand from China has improved for secondary aluminium and is stable for copper whereas the Indian market is still slow owing to production overcapacities.