HSBC Treasury Management Profiles 2018 -

Current section, Introduction


Spain is the fifth-largest economy in the EU (accounting for 7.5 per cent of EU GDP in 2016) with a diversified and competitive economy with robust manufacturing and services sectors. For much of the last decade, Spain’s economy has suffered from the fallout of the global financial crisis; 2014 marked its first full year of positive growth in seven years (the economy grew 1.4 per cent, having recorded negative growth of -2.9 per cent in 2012 and -1.7 per cent in 2013). The economy grew 3.2 per cent in both 2015 and 2016 and the IMF has forecast GDP growth of 3.1 per cent in 2017. Banco de España predicts growth of 2.5 per cent in 2018 and 2.2 per cent in 2019. Although the country’s economic recovery remains strong (growth of 3.1 per cent was recorded in both second and third quarters of 2017, largely driven by domestic demand), Catalonia’s contested independence referendum is expected to have a negative impact on growth; Catalonia accounts for an estimated 20 per cent of the country’s economy. Spain’s unemployment rate also remains a pressing issue. In the third quarter 2017, unemployment fell to 16.38 per cent, the lowest level since the last quarter of 2008, but the highest level in the EU after Greece (20.5 per cent in September 2017). The country’s budget deficit, which equalled 4.5 per cent of GDP in 2016, is on track to drop below the 3 per cent target set by the European Commission (EC) by 2018.

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Legal and regulatory

  • Foreign exchange and domestic currency (EUR) accounts can be held by residents both domestically and abroad. Residents are required to notify the Banco de España when opening/closing foreign currency accounts abroad
  • Non-resident bank accounts are permitted in both foreign and domestic currency. Non-resident domestic currency accounts can be held abroad and are convertible into foreign currency
  • All transactions between resident and non-residents must be reported to the central bank
  • Spain does not apply exchange controls

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  • Resident companies are taxed on their worldwide income
  • Non-resident companies are taxed on Spanish-sourced income only. Branches are treated the same as subsidiaries for tax purposes
  • The standard rate of corporation tax is 25 per cent
  • Spain is a signatory to the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement (MCAA), under which information will be exchanged between tax administrations, giving a single, global picture on some key indicators of economic activity within multinational enterprises. The first exchanges under the MCAA will begin in 2017-18, based on 2016 information

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Payment instruments and systems

  • Credit transfers are used for both high-value corporate and low-value retail payment transactions. Payment cards, particularly debit cards, are a popular method of payment. Mobile payments have been widely adopted; in 2016, 31 banks teamed up to launch the Bizum mobile payment platform. Instant mobile payments can be made in-store and online. Fifteen of Spain’s leading banks are offering the service
  • In November 2017, the European Payment Council’s SCT Inst scheme (a pan-European 24/7 instant payment scheme for SEPA credit transfers) went live. The scheme enables the transfer of funds (the maximum threshold is EUR15,000) to another account in any of the 34 SEPA countries in less than ten seconds
  • Spain operates two main payment systems: TARGET2-Banco de España, an RTGS system, and the SNCE, for low-value retail payments

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Cash management

  • Domestic and cross-border notional pooling is permitted but not widely used. Interest-rate enhancement services are offered as an alternative. Domestic and cross-border cash concentration is permitted between resident and non-resident accounts
  • Lockbox services are available

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Electronic banking

  • There is no bank-independent electronic banking standard in Spain
  • Internet and mobile banking services are provided by all of the country’s banks for both corporate and retail purposes. An estimated 54 per cent and 51 per cent of accountholders use internet and mobile banking services respectively

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To read the full report on Spain and to discover more on these and other topics, including banking and trade, please click on the Download PDF option.


  • International Monetary Fund
  • Instituto Nacional de Estadistica
  • Eurostat
  • Banco de España

The materials contained on this page were assembled in May 2017 (unless otherwise dated).



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