Spain shows fastest growth in six years - central bank

Thursday 24 April 2014 11.20
Spanish economy expanded by 0.4% on a quarterly basis, the Bank of Spain said
Spanish economy expanded by 0.4% on a quarterly basis, the Bank of Spain said

Spain's economy grew at the fastest pace in six years in the first quarter of 2014 as it pulled its way out of a long, job-destroying downturn, the central bank said in a preliminary estimate today.

The euro zone's fourth-largest economy expanded by 0.4% on a quarterly basis, the Bank of Spain said in a monthly report, citing available but as yet incomplete data for the period. 

It was the sharpest quarterly growth rate since the first quarter of 2008 when a decade-long property bubble imploded.

This tipped the nation into a recession that wiped out millions of jobs and flooded the nation in debt. 

"In the first quarter of 2014, the Spanish economy continued on a path of gradual recovery in the a context of increasing normalisation on the financial markets and a gradual consolidation of the labour market," the central bank said. 

On an annual basis, the Spanish economy grew 0.5% in the first quarter, the bank estimated, the first year-on-year expansion in more than two years.

Meanwhile, Spain trimmed its official unemployment rate to 25.73% for the final quarter of 2013, citing updated population figures. It had previously estimated the jobless rate at 26.03%. 

Jobless rates since 2002 were revised to take account of census data for 2011 instead of 2001, the National Statistics Institute said.

The new figures showed that Spain's unemployment rate fell to a record low of 7.93% in the second quarter of 2007, towards the end of a decade-long property bubble.

But a 2008 property crash sent the jobless rate soaring to reach an unprecedented 26.94% in the first quarter of 2013 before easing just a little by the end of the year, the latest data show.