The figures, released by Spain's finance ministry, show that from January to September 2014, Madrid received over €5billion ($5.7 billion) in foreign investment, compared to Catalonia’s €1 billion.
The gap between foreign investment in Madrid and Catalonia has widened since 2013, with analysts pointing to the growing independence movement, including 2014’s non-binging independence vote, as possible turn offs for potential investors in Catalonia.
"The independence movement creates an atmosphere of mistrust among investors, the risk being that Catalonia will gain independence," Daniel Pingarrón, analyst at IG Markets told Spanish daily 20 minutes.
Between January and September 2014 Madrid received €5.09 billion of foreign investment while Catalonia received €1.09 billion, according to the figures by statistics agency, DataInvex. The figures show that Madrid received exactly 4.6 times more foreign investment than Catalonia.
It marks a sharp rise in the difference in foreign investment between Spain’s two big powerhouses; in the same period of 2013 Madrid received barely three times more than Catalonia.
While the figures show that foreign investment to both areas decreased between 2013 and 2014, the fall was much sharper in Catalonia, where foreign investment was down by 45.2 percent, than Madrid, where foreign investment was down by only 8.3 percent.
While the figures point to decreasing investor confidence in Catalonia, the issue of independence is not the only reason they are focusing on Madrid.
Investment conditions – job creation, taxation, business creation – are generally better in Madrid than in Catalonia, Pingarrón tells 20 minutos.
Foreign investors in Madrid tend to put their money into property, followed by the finance sector. In Catalonia, foreign investors prefer the commercial sector.
But according to Catalan minister, Felip Puig, speaking to 20 minutos, a ‘headquarters effect’ skews the results in Madrid’s favour. Many foreign investments are concentrated in Madrid because the city, as Spain’s capital, is home to the majority of company headquarters.