Spanish economy grew 0.4% in first quarter of 2014

Flash estimate from National Statistics Institute coincides with Bank of Spain figures Prime minister sounds note of confidence, saying that “things are going well and will go better”

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy says "things are going well."
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy says "things are going well."Álvaro García

The Spanish economy grew 0.4 percent in the first quarter of the year compared to the previous three months, according to preliminary figures released on Wednesday by the national statistics office INE.

The figure coincides with a flash estimate from the Bank of Spain a week ago.

The GDP figure represents the quickest pace of growth since 2008, when Spain’s economic crisis began.

Compared to the same period a year ago, the economy has picked up at a pace of 0.6 percent.

The INE said that “this result is a consequence of improved domestic demand, which is partially offset by declining external demand.”

These numbers seem to confirm the positive trend after three consecutive quarters of growth, albeit at very low levels.

Despite the signs of economic recovery, job creation has yet to follow. On Tuesday the INE also released data showing that Spain shed 184,600 jobs in the first quarter of the year, and that the labor force has shrunk.

Nevertheless, the center-right government of the Popular Party (PP) continues to speak optimistically about the economy. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said that “things are going well and they are going to go better. There is a long way to go yet, but they will go better.”

The Cabinet, which meets on Wednesday this week because of May Day and a regional Madrid holiday, will review its GDP forecasts for 2014 and 2015 up to 1.2 percent and 1.8 percent. Previous estimates cited figures of 0.7 percent and 1.2 percent.

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