Spain exits recession: central bank

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The Spanish economy scraped out of recession in the first quarter, expanding by 0.1 percent for the first time since 2008, the Spanish central bank said in a preliminary estimate on Friday.

"GDP (gross domestic product) grew by 0.1 percent on a quarterly basis following six consecutive quarters of contraction," the bank said in a statement, stressing that this was only an initial estimation.

Spain is the last major world economy to emerge from recession. The heavily indebted country has received a hammering on financial markets in recent days after its credit rating was downgraded by Standard & Poor's last week.

Spain entered its recession in the second quarter of 2008 as the global financial meltdown compounded a crisis in the Spanish property market, which had been a major driver for growth in the preceding years.

Spain is Europe's fifth biggest economy.

© 2010 AFP

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