In 2022, foreign investments hit its highest level ever recorded in Spain as figures reached 34.2 billion euros in gross terms. According to data published in the Foreign Investment Register Data Index of the State Secretariat for Trade, this is the second highest figure since 1993 when records first began. In comparison to 2021 records, this is a 13.9% increase.
Speaking in net terms, meaning foreign investments minus foreign investment liquidations, the figure for non-Entities Holding Foreign Securities (ETVE) investments reached 23.9 billion euros, which is 9.8% more than in 2021. Looking at last year’s investments, more than 87% of foreign investment went to unlisted companies.
The Main Holders
In geographic terms, the United States is the main investor in Spain as it accounts for 27.7% of the non-ETVE investment flows received in Spain. Secondly, followed by the United Kingdom at 17.8% and thirdly by Germany at 14%.
Stats by Sector
By sector, over half of the total foreign investment in Spain, just over 55%, went to the services sector, followed by industry at 42.2% and construction at 2.5% then the primary sector (0.2%).
- The manufacturing sector exceeded 10.1 billion euros, setting a record.
- The telecommunications sector received more than 2.7 billion euros, the best figure in the last 10 years.
- Renewable energies, as a whole, received more than 2.8 billion euros, of which 872 million euros went to wind and 1.9 billion euros to solar, both figures are within the top five of best figures in recorded history.
- The programming and IT sector reached 1.4 billion euros, the second-best figure in the series after 2021. The research and development sector exceeded 800 million euros, more than double any other year.
Foreign Investment by Region
Last year in 2022, the regions that saw the highest amount of foreign investment were Andalusia, Valencia, Catalonia, the Basque Country, and the community of Madrid. Together, these five regions account for a staggering 87.6% of all foreign investment received in Spain. To up the scale even more, Andalusia, Aragon, Castile-La Mancha, and the Basque Country also achieved their best ever figures, showing the growth of these areas.
Greenfield projects may be the most economically interesting type of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) projects. These types of projects involve the construction of new facilities and the hiring of new employees, thus usually bringing a level of wealth and job opportunities to the area.
In 2022, Spain soared to its highest level of foreign investment in greenfield projects in the whole historical series. According to FDI Markets, the Financial Times Group’s database of greenfield projects, these investment projects exceeded 44.560 billion dollars and have created almost 100,000 jobs.
Foreign capital was responsible for 860 greenfield projects in Spain last year, giving Spain the sixth spot in the entire world for having received the most greenfield projects globally. Incredibly, ahead of powers such as France, Japan and even China. 860 greenfield projects are a small leap from 838 in 2021 but a significant jump from the 554 greenfield projects only two years prior, in 2020.
Not only is Spain seeing more of these investments, but it is also showing promising results in the most advanced and productive forms of foreign investment. Last year, Spain was in fact the third largest global recipient of greenfield projects in the ‘Renewable Energies’ and the ‘IT and Internet Infrastructures’ sectors. As well as this, Spain is the fourth country receiving the highest number of projects involving R&D activities and fourth in the ranking of countries receiving automotive projects or those related to clean hydrogen. Some impressive statistics.
What Makes Spain So Desirable to Investors?
Spain has a large domestic market that comprises over 47 million inhabitants and had over 82 million visitors in 2019 alone. From Spain there is unrestricted access to the European market and with that its 500 million consumers and the world’s highest purchasing power. In addition to this, there is access to African and Middle Eastern consumers (more than 500 million) and Latin American consumers (over 600 million).
In addition to this huge advantage that Spain has to offer foreign investors, it is also an advantage that foreign investments in Spain generally do not require previous approval unless in activities that affect public security, public order, or public health.
Spain is desirable to foreign investors for many reasons, one of the most prominent being that Spain is the gateway to various enormous markets which is why the Spanish business sector is highly internationalised. The data shows the sheer confidence that investors have in Spain as a country and the number of foreign investments seems to be on the incline.