The end of pandemic shielding measures has forced many companies to close. / ñito salas

Nearly 900 companies in the province have closed so far this year, due to economic instability and inflation

The construction and retail sectors in Malaga have been hit particularly hard and experts warn that the number of closures by the end of this year will probably be higher than in 2021

JAVIER LÓPEZ Malaga

For months now, the most optimistic among us have been playing down warnings that we are in for a very difficult autumn and winter, but the latest figures show that many businesses in Malaga province have already closed down this year due to economic instability, galloping inflation, soaring energy bills and the shockwaves caused by the war in Ukraine.

Between January and July 900 companies in the province shut their doors for the last time, and everything points to the end-of-year figure being worse than in 2021, when a total of 1,093 businesses closed. The exact figure so far this year is 894, a report from Informa D&B shows. By sector, construction and retail have been most affected, accounting for 44.6% of the insolvencies during this period.

The figures also show that in July this year, 44% more companies closed down than in June. This was partly because the government measures to shield businesses from the effects of the pandemic came to an end on 30 June; until then, companies who had become insolvent were not obliged to begin bankruptcy proceedings. That changed on 1 July.

The other problem for Malaga companies is that the period of grace for repaying loans taken out to help them cope during the pandemic has also come to an end, after being postponed on several occasions. More than 21,000 businesses in the province took advantage of these loans, with an average sum borrowed of nearly 87,000 euros.

Highest figure since 2014

The report states that: "The end of the insolvency moratorium on 30 June has had some impact on the bankruptcy statistics. In July, 774 companies in Malaga were registered as being insolvent, which was the highest figure since March 2014. The figure shows an increase of more than 25% compared to the same month last year. So far this year, insolvency proceedings have reached 3,966, which is 4.31% more than in 2021".