19:00 GMT +323 July 2018
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    A man holds an Estelada (Catalan separatist flag) as people gather at Plaza Catalunya after voting ended for the banned independence referendum, in Barcelona, Spain

    IMF Warns Spain of Economic Risks of Catalonia Tensions – IMF Chief in Spain

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    Catalonia's Independence Referendum (118)

    As several major companies based in Catalonia have announced plans to change their legal addresses after the independence referendum held in the region on Sunday, which is considered by Madrid to be illegal, the IMF warned Spain of the economic consequences of tensions over the vote.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The ongoing political crisis in Catalonia poses potential threats to the economy of Spain, although current perspectives remain positive, Andrea Schaechter, the IMF chief in Spain, said on Friday.

    "We believe the current perspectives for Spain to be positive. But if they continue, the political tensions in Catalonia could affect confidence in investment and consumer spending," Schaechter said, as quoted by El Pais newspaper.

    The IMF expressed concern that regional independence movements could exacerbate political and economic uncertainty.

    Earlier in the day, the Spanish government adopted a law making it easier for Catalonia-based companies to change their legal address. According to the bill, the decision of the Board of Directors is enough without convening a meeting of the shareholders, even if companies’ charters say otherwise.

    Several major companies, such as Gas Natural Fenosa, insurance company Catalana Occidenta, and CaixaBank, one of the largest banks in Spain, have announced plans to change their legal addresses from Catalonia. Another major bank, Sabadell, changed its legal address from Catalonia to Alicante on Thursday.

    Catalonia held an independence referendum on Sunday. According to the region’s authorities, over 90 percent of voters supported the idea of Catalonia’s independence from Spain. Madrid slammed the vote as illegal.

    Catalonia's Independence Referendum (118)


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