Spanish industrial output rises for first time since April 2008
Spanish industrial production rose in March for the first time since April 2008, official data showed on Wednesday, in a sign that Europe's fifth largest economy may have started to emerge from recession.
Industrial output rose by 5.4 percent in March on a 12-month basis after declining by 1.9 percent in February, the national statistics institute INE said in a statement.
Output of durable goods declined by 2.6 percent while production of non-durable goods jumped 10.1 percent and production of semi-finished goods rose by 8.2 percent.
During the first quarter industrial production was up 0.3 percent over the same time last year.
Industrial production plunged by 15.8 percent during all of 2009 over the previous year.
French bank BNB Paribas said the rise in industrial production in March "indicates a very clear rebound in activity."
"If these positive results are confirmed in the coming months, Spain could emerge from the recession during the first half of 2010," it added in a research note.
The Spanish economy fell into its worst recession in decades at the end of 2008 as the global credit crunch hastened a correction that was already underway in its key property sector, pushing unemployment above 20 percent.
Last week Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said the Spanish economy, which contracted by 3.6 percent last year, probably returned to growth during the first quarter.
© 2010 AFP