Solbes now sees GDP growing below 3pc over next four years

12th February 2008, Comments 0 comments

Spanish Economy Minister Pedro Solbes now sees the economy growing slightly below 3 percent annually during the next four years.

12 February 2008

MADRID - Spanish Economy Minister Pedro Solbes now sees the economy growing slightly below 3 percent annually during the next four years, according to an interview published in French daily Le Tribune Monday.

Solbes said that irrespective of the slowdown, almost 2 million jobs could be created during the next four-year legislative term.

"We think that our [economic] growth during the next legislature will be slightly under our potential, which we see between 3 percent and 3.5 percent," he says, adding that with a growth rate of around 3 percent some 1.6 million new jobs could be created.

The minister admitted, however, that the Spanish economy could be threatened by outside factors, such as the mortgage crisis in the United States.

Nonetheless, he said Spain was better prepared to face such problems.

Solbes praised the economic achievements of his government, stating that 3 million jobs were created by heavy investment in infrastructure projects, which in turn have clearly increased Spain's ability to grow.

Solbes admitted Thursday that he never expected Spain's decade-long real estate boom to end as abruptly as it has, forcing economic growth to slow.

In December, when there were clear signs that the Spanish economy was cooling, Solbes revised his economic outlook for 2008 to 3 percent from an earlier estimate of 3.3 percent.

[Copyright EL PAÍS 2008]

Subject: Spanish news

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