Central bank’s growth forecasts exceed government’s own predictions

New figures released by Bank of Spain see economy growing by 1.7 percent next year

New figures released on Wednesday by the Bank of Spain predict that the economy will grow this year by 1.2 percent, and 1.7 percent in 2015.

The new projections are 0.2 percentage points higher than the figures given by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy during his State of the Nation address last month. Rajoy predicted growth at between 1 and 1.5 percent over the next two years.

But the central bank warned that its numbers could vary depending on the Rajoy administration’s final tax reform plans for 2015, which “could fuel more moderate [economic] activity this year.”

The prime minister announced initiatives to create jobs and provide tax relief for workers and employers by lowering social security contributions for companies that take more people on to their payrolls.

Siding with a recent analysis by the European Commission, the Bank of Spain said that the demand for Spanish exports and an expected fall in unemployment next year will help get the economy rolling. The central lender expects that unemployment will fall to 23.8 percent next year after it is predicted to be at around 25 percent by the end of 2014.

Consumer spending, however, will continue to be weak. The bank’s analysis reflects that “because of the profound effects that the crisis had on the real and financial situation,” spending by Spaniards will be “moderate.”

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