Spain Confirms Recession Exit, Growth 'Less Than Expected'
The Spanish economy registered a 0.2% growth over the last three months of 2013.
The result, though described by officials and media in the country as "worse than expected", means Spain is firmly out of last two years' recession, as Spanish newspaper El Pais reports, citing official statistics released on Friday.
During the third quarter of 2013, Spanish GDP growth was expected to be 0.3%.
However, on a yearly basis it is continuing to shrink, with 0.2% lower compared to the end of 2012.
Austerity is still looming as government expenditure declined 3.9% between October and December. El Pais has called these results the biggest spending cut of the ruling center-right Popular Party's term.
Private consumption rose 0.5% (i.e. with the same rate as during the previous July-September quarter) and exports were up 0.8% (compared to a 0.6% growth at the end of September).
It was precisely export growth that helped Spain emerge from the recession.
Now the European Commission foresees a 1% growth for Spain's GDP in 2014, after it shrunk by 1.2% last year.
The economic recovery is still fragile, as the unemployment was about 25.8% in December, thus making Spain the country with second-largest share of people out of work in Europe. Approximately 265 000 jobs have disappeared in a year.
Youth unemployment level is also a concern, with 54.3% of those under 25 unable to find a job.