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Spain’s economy in facts and figures

Herewith a few facts and figures about eurozone member Spain:

DATE OF ENTRY TO EUROZONE: Spain was one of the first countries to join the Economic and Monetary Union, which was born in 1999. Euro coins and notes began circulating across the zone on January 1, 2002.

PUBLIC DEBT: 641.80 billion euros, or 61 percent of GDP in 2010 (Eurostat), Forecast to rise to 69.6 percent in 2011, 73.8 percent in 2012 and 78 percent in 2013 (European Commission).

PUBLIC DEFICIT: 9.3 percent of GDP in 2010 (Eurostat). The government warned that the deficit could be more than 8.0 percent of GDP for 2011 instead of the 6.0 percent target. The government has said it will make additional cuts to attain its 2012 target of 4.4 percent. The European Commission forecasts it will fall to 5.9 percent in 2012 and 5.3 percent in 2013.

GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT: 1.051 trillion euros in 2010 (source: Eurostat).

Growth: After shrinking by 0.1 percent in 2010, Spain’s economy is set to grow by 0.7 percent in both 2011 and 2012 and by 1.4 perecent in 2013 (European Commission).

ECONOMY: Spain is the fourth biggest economy in the eurozone, dominated by services with tourism the largest single business activity.

Industry, while on the decline, remains a major pillar of the economy with large construction and automobile sectors.

AVERAGE MONTHLY SALARY: 1,627.17 euros in the second quarter of 2011, according to the National Statistics Institute. The minimum salary is 641.4 euros.

INFLATION: Forecast at 3.0 percent in 2011, 1.1 percent in 2012 and 1.3 percent in 2013 (European Commission).

UNEMPLOYMENT: The jobless rate was 22.8 percent at the end of October 2011 (Eurostat), the highest figure among members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. Forecast to rise from 20.1 percent in 2010 to 20.9 percent in both 2011 and 2012 before easing to 20.3 percent in 2013 (European Commission).

CREDIT RATINGS: Standard & Poor’s cut Spain’s rating by two notches to A when it cut ratings of nine eurozone nations on January 13. Fitch on December 16 put Spain’s AA- rating on watch for possible downgrade. Moody’s, which has Spain at A1 with negative outlook since October, has said it is reviewing all EU nations.

POPULATION: 47.02 million inhabitants in 2010, the fifth most populous nation of the European Union.

CAPITAL: Madrid, with 3.28 million inhabitants.

LANGUAGE: Official national language: Spanish. Official regional languages: Basque, Catalan and Galician.

POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS: Spain has had a constitutional monarchy since the death of General Francisco Franco in 1975, which ended 36 years of dictatorship. The king is head of state and the military. He names the prime minister after parliament has given its approval. The Congress of Deputies and the Senate form the two houses of parliament.

Last elections: November 20, 2011 won by the conservative Popular Party. Mariano Rajoy took office as prime minister on December 21.