Spanish economic growth beats forecasts

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Spain’s strong economic recovery continued at the start of the year, according to a series of new data releases, which showed economic output expanded by 0.8 per cent in the first quarter while retail sales rebounded much more strongly than expected in March.

Preliminary estimates from the National Statistical Institute showed quarter on quarter growth in gross domestic product of 0.8 per cent, slightly stronger than the 0.7 per cent rise expected by economists.

On a year on year basis, economic output was 3 per cent higher, maintaining the growth rate seen at the end of last year.

The collapse of Spain’s property bubble helped cause one of the most severe recessions in Europe during the financial crisis, but the economy has recovered well since the government implemented a series of reforms including overhauling the banking system and reforming the labour market.

GDP expanded by 3.2 per cent in 2015 and 2016, making Spain one of the fastest-growing countries in the eurozone.

In a further positive sign, separate data also released this morning showed that retail sales picked up in March after an unexpectedly severe dip at the start of the year.

Retail sales climbed 0.6 per cent over the month, on a seasonally-adjusted basis, and were 0.9 per cent higher than the same month a year ago.

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