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The Archives from 2012 news around Andorra as it was!


It is interesting to see what has transpired or in most cases what has not!


13th December 2012 Andorra goes smoke free.

The smoking prohibition in public places came into effect today. Fines range from €30 to €10,000 for both the culprit and the owner of the establishment. It is expected to be policed by public complaint. The fines for owners of premises have been structured so as to deter them from turning a blind eye. So far today no evidence of smoking in coffee shops have been observed. The bars open later !?


The heliport planned for Patapou in Andorra La Vella (see 22nd June 2012 below) has been cancelled due to opposition by local residents. The search for a heliport location continues, I suppose they will have a problem with local residents wherever they try to select!   Post note from 2015....I suppose they are still looking for a suitable site ??


4th December 2012. Andorra's Sovereign rating tweaked down.

Standard & Poor's today downgraded the rating of Andorran Sovereign bonds by one notch from A to A- for the long term and from A-1 to A-2 for the short term both with a negative outlook (see 22nd June 2012 below). Standard & Poor's gave the reasons for the downgrade as the proximity to EU problems, especially Spain, a 14% fall in employment since 2006 and a continuing outflow of population primarily caused by the downturn in the construction industry. On the long term comments they noted Andorra's opening up to foreign investment and business and that the means taken to re-invigorate the economy were well received by the ratings agency.  It should be noted that the T & C rating for Andorra remains a prize AAA rating ( this is the likelihood of Andorra requiring non sovereign financing). I t should also be noted that Spanish Sovereign bonds are currently rated BBB- not far from junk status.
From this author's point of view it remains to be seen whether the costs of the new central administration being set up to police and receive the new taxes out weigh the benefits. It is well proven that a central administration does not create wealth but sucks it in and creates long term liabilities, especially on the pension front of those who administer....careful now!!

31st October 2012. The slippery slope at Vallnord.

The opening of Vallnord ski pistes is earmarked for 1st December 2012 (as always). Vallnord which comprises Arinsal, Pal and Arcalis ski resorts has just obtained a €4 million standby credit from the bank consortium with a due payback date of 1st July 2013. Last year the Vallnord consortium lost €3.5 million to bring it's accumulated losses to over €30 million. If ever there was a need to pray for early snow and a good season, this is it. The last two seasons have been poor and if it happens this year, the unthinkable may have to be considered.....  Let us Pray !!

31st August 2012.  French see red at the 90 day rule.

France has summoned the head of Government for a dressing down over various matters including their objection to the new 90 day residency rule, demanding that the former 183 days be re-instated. Also as part of the Economic Opening of Andorra, Double Taxation Treaties are an integral part. However until the precise level of proposed income tax here is fixed France in particular is refusing to sign any agreement (seems logical). This and other issues are now pushing back these treaties, as yet Andorra has no Double Taxation Treaties.

28th July 2012 A population drop of 10% !

Since the peak number of salaried employees in Andorra in December 2009, a total of just over 41,000, the latest figures reveal a drop of over 4,000 salaried employees to 37,000. This is a drop of over 10% of the workforce. The biggest drop is in the construction industry, many of the former salaried employees from Spain and Portugal have return home as there simply is no work. The concern now is becoming the sustainability of the Andorran Government pensions and the potential deficit as the ratio of workers to pensioners narrows dramatically.

11th July 2012 Dos Valires or Dues Valires, one for the literary scholars

It is announced today that the new tunnel de "Dos Valires" from La Massana to Encamp will open on the 31st July 2012. This long awaited tunnel will cut travel times to the French side, and also importantly bring the expansive pistes of Granvalira a lot more accessible to La Massana. Post note: It has opened! Also it has caused linguistic scholars to shudder as techically the "riu Valira" is feminine, so it should be the tunnel del "Dues Valires". Who cares, its open !!

29th June 2012 Fitch and Moody's ratings Andorra banks

Andorra bank ratings are now several points above Spain's after their recent downgrade. The ratings (Mooody's look after Morabanc, and Fitch look after both Credit Andorra  and Andbank) have recently been confirmed as stable, Morabanc with an A2 rating and both Credit Andorra and Andbank maintain their A- status. These ratings mean that Andorra has one of the safest banking systems. Both credit agencies though said that Andorra can not expect any upgrades with the current crisis in neighbouring countries. Andorra's sovereign rating according to Standard and Poor's  was also stable at a creditable A / A-. As yet Andorra remains resilient to the financial disaster around it.

22nd June 2012.

The new Heliport which the Government has decided to build at the Roc de Patapou in Andorra La Vella (the hospital side of the valley under the Pic de Carroi) has run into severe opposition from residents of the area. Protests have been called, but the Government is standing firm. A regular passenger helicopter service is expected to come into operation by the end of 2013 between Andorra and Barcelona.

18th June 2012.

The proposed Casino (wherever and if  they decide to build it) will not be open to Andorran residents similar to models in Monaco, Macau and Singapore amongst others. Andorra intends to put a maximum limit of €15,000 that can be bought in in cash, and when that runs out its the good old hole in the wall dispenser. This corresponds to a new law on Bingo winnings where any winning in excess of €15,000 must now be declared (presumably that will apply to the Casino). Speculation is rife as to where they may place such a Casino, presumably near to the new Heliport !  For those of you that may not know the Punt de Trobada towards the Spanish border was purpose built to be a Casino before Andorra got cold feet and changed its mind some twenty years ago.

5th December 2012. Moodys Andorra finance update...

Andorra bank ratings are now several points above Spain's after their recent downgrade. The ratings (Moody's look after Morabanc, and Fitch look after both Credit Andorra  and Andbank) have recently been confirmed as stable, Morabanc with an A2 rating and both Credit Andorra and Andbank maintain their A- status. These ratings mean that Andorra has one of the safest banking systems. Both credit agencies though said that Andorra can not expect any upgrades with the current crisis in neighbouring countries. Andorra's sovereign rating according to Standard and Poor's  was also stable at a creditable A / A-. As yet Andorra remains resilient to the financial disaster around it.

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