Spain out of recession in first quarter: government

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Spain eased out of recession with 0.1 percent growth in first quarter compared to the preceeding quarter, the government statistics' office said in a preliminary report Wednesday.

The figures from the National Statistics Office confirmed a provisional report from the Bank of Spain released last week.

Spain, Europe's fifth largest economy, 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.

The economy continued to contract until the fourth quarter of 2009 when it shrank 0.1 percent, according to the statistics office.

Year on year, the economy shrank 1.3 percent from the first quarter of 2009, it added.

Spain is the last major world economy to emerge from recession.

The socialist government of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero is targetting a 0.3 percent reduction of economic growth for all of 2010 after a 3.6 percent contraction last year.

© 2010 AFP

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