Greek crisis could weigh on Spanish growth: Zapatero

14th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

Spain's government fears the Greek debt crisis could affect third-quarter growth figures, Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said on Wednesday.

The government expects a "slight economic recovery in the second half of 2011 with third-quarter growth similar to the second quarter," which was up 0.2 percent from the previous three months, he told parliament.

This figure is "also similar to that of the eurozone," he said.

But "at the moment, we have a tense financial situation, economic uncertainty, particularly because of the situation in Greece, which could affected the growth forecasts."

Fears are growing that Greece could default on its 350-billion-euro-plus debts despite official denials, amid growing reticence among partners to keep shelling out loans.

Official data released in late August showed that Spain's economic growth slowed to 0.2 percent in the second quarter as the debt crisis swept the eurozone.

Provisionals figures for the July-to-September period will be released on November 11.

The Spanish government has forecast growth 1.3 percent for the year, a figure which analysts believe is too optimistic.

The research department of the BBVA bank, forecasts growth 0.9 percent, while Standard and Poor's rating agency and the Bank of Spain are expecting 0.8 percent.

Spain is still struggling to emerge from an economic crisis that began in late 2008 when the bubble burts on its propery boom, and to convince nervous markets it will not require a bailout similar to those granted Greece, Ireland and Portugal.

The crisis has sent the unemployment rate soaring to almost 21 percent, the highest in industrialised countries.

© 2011 AFP

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