Spanish economy grew 0.4 percent in first quarter of 2014, says central bank

Consumer spending and business investment both up, while exports continue to boost GDP

The Spanish economy grew 0.4% in the first quarter of this year, up 0.2 percentage points from the final three-month period of 2013 (0.2%), the Bank of Spain announced on Thursday.

Compared to the first quarter last year, GDP was up by 0.5 percentage points, the first positive figure after nine consecutive quarters of inter-annual falls, the central bank pointed out in its latest economic bulletin.

At least 0.2% of the growth from the first quarter was attributed to an improvement in domestic demand, an increase in consumer spending and higher business investment.

The other 0.2% was due to the rapid rise in Spanish exports, which have been on the up since the end of 2013.

The data confirms the Bank of Spain’s official forecasts, first released in March, which predict growth rates of 1.2% and 1.7% in 2014 and 2015, respectively. Those forecasts are also in line with those of the government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. Economy Minister Luis de Guindos announced on Wednesday that he expected GDP to rise an average of 1.5% this year and the next.

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