Spain exits two-year recession with growth of 0.1%

Spain's economy grew 0.1 per cent in the third quarter ending two years of recession, according to figures released Wednesday from the country's National Statistics Institute.
Protestors are seen through a Spanish flag during a demonstration against corruption on Oct. 5. Spain has officially emerged from recession after two years, but unemployment is still 26.3 per cent. (Andres Kudacki/Associated Press)

Spain's economy grew 0.1 per cent in the third quarter ending two years of recession, according to figures released Wednesday from the country's National Statistics Institute.

That was the same estimate made by Spain's central bank last week and marks the end of nine straight quarterly declines in economic activity.

In the past year, Spain’s economy has shrunk by 1.2 per cent, with dismal domestic spending putting a drag on the economy, the institute said.

Spain’s unemployment still stands at 26.3 per cent, the second highest in the eurozone behind Greece.

The high rate of joblessness will keep domestic spending low and could threaten future growth, analysts say. Spain’s government admits it could take years for the country to recover from the sharp recession triggered by the 2008 financial crisis.

There have been huge street protests in response to government austerity cuts and thousands of businesses have gone bust.

However, Spain faces a huge debt load after bailouts for its banks. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has pledged to stabilize the government’s debt load by the end of his term in 2015.

On the upside, the institute reported strong growth in exports and a tourist industry that attracted 48.8 million travellers, the highest level in 10 years, as tourists avoided northern Africa and the Middle East.

There also has been a market rally, with international investors seeking out bargains in Spain. The Ibex-35 index of leading companies has risen 21 per cent this year.

With files from the Associated Press


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