Spain revises down 2009 growth figures

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Spain's economy contracted slightly more last year than previously estimated, shrinking 3.7 percent, official data showed Wednesday.

The National Statistic Institute (INE) said in February the economy shrank 3.6 percent in 2009 but the latest calculation included new data which was not available at that time.

The INE also confirmed growth of 4.0 percent in 2006, 3.6 percent in 2007 and 0.9 percent in 2008.

But it said only the 2006 figures can be considered "definitive," indicating new revisions could be announced.

Spain entered its worst recession in decades at the end of 2008 as the global financial meltdown compounded a crisis in the once-booming property market and then returned to growth in first quarter of this year with a gain of just 0.1 percent.

INE last week issued provisional figures showing growth of 0.2 percent in the second quarter. It is scheduled to release final data on Thursday.

The government predicts the economy will contract 0.3 percent in 2010 and then expand 1.3 percent in 2011.

Other organisations are far more pessimistic, raising doubts over the government's ability to rein in its massive public deficit.

The Bank of Spain expects a contraction of 0.4 percent this year before a return to growth of 0.8 percent next year while the International Monetary Fund has revised its 2011 growth forecast down from 0.9 percent to 0.6 percent.

© 2010 AFP

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