European Leasing recovers from pandemic totalling 150 billion euros
Leaseurope, the European Leasing Association, has made available the data concerning the performance of Leasing in Europe in the first half of 2021, with a positive outlook in which Leasing recovered 27.9% compared to the first half of 2020. In a set of 26 countries, Leasing and Renting companies supported the economy in a total of 152.9 billion euros.
Portugal followed the trend of gains but with a lower recovery, standing as the fifth country with the lowest growth among the 26 that make up the Leaseurope data (which for the purposes of European-level statistics include financial and operational leasing). National Leasing increased by 7.5%, to 1.498 billion euros in the first half of 2021, compared with 1.393 billion euros for the same period last year. It should be remembered that both semesters included situations of general lockdown.
According to data from the European association to which the Portuguese Leasing, Factoring and Renting Association (ALF) belongs, after the higher decline than the European average in 2020, the Portuguese market already shows a recovery in several of the leasing sectors, but still always lower than the average growth on the continent.
In Real Estate Leasing - a sector in which the European average accounted gains of 7.8%, to 6.154 billion euros - Portugal saw a 4.8% drop, from 378 to 360 million euros.
Equipment and vehicle leasing in the first semester follows the European upward trend, but, as in the overall leasing balance, at a level clearly below the European average. While the ALF members announced a growth of 12.1%, in a transition from 1.015 billion to 1.138 billion euros in the first half of 2021, the sum of the Leaseurope member countries saw a growth of 28.3%, to 146.7 billion euros.
Luís Augusto, ALF's President, stresses that "the recovery of Leasing in Europe, and specifically in Portugal, signals the beginning of the recovery we all aspire". However, he warns, "Real Estate Leasing justifies a more vigilant monitoring, considering the losses in Portugal, in counter-cycle with most European countries." He adds that "considering that Leasing is an investment financing product by excellence, we are concerned with a lower growth in Portugal compared to the European average". The association's responsible points out that "the Specialized Financing Institutions will not give up on supporting companies and families, but their efforts should be accompanied by a support for productive investment and simplification of bureaucratic procedures, as ALF has requested of the government and parliamentary parties with whom we have met during the discussion of the State Budget for 2022".
Year 2020 with reasons for apprehension
When looking at the balance of 2020, the first year of this pandemic cycle, the performance of the Portuguese market already showed the deceleration that the first half of 2021 proves. In the European annual comparison between 2020 and 2019, the pandemic's impact is revealed in the fall from 337.1 billion euros of Leasing production in 2019 to 276.9 billion euros last year, representing a 17.8% decrease of the sector in the European total in 2020. Portugal did not escape the generalized trend, but the fall was even greater than the European average: 24.4% decline, reducing the support in the national economy from 3,849 million to 2,909 million euros.
About the scenario experienced last year, Luís Augusto explains that "Leasing losses in Portugal represented more than 900 million euros, a very relevant amount that did not reach companies in 2020. We are confident that there will be the necessary sensitivity towards the constraints of companies created by the pandemic context, in order to ensure effective support to companies that need to invest and grow," he stresses.