Spain says to miss 2011 economic growth target

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Spain's Socialist government admitted for the first time Wednesday it will miss its 2011 economic growth target, just four days before an expected election drubbing.

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's government had until now refused to budge from its target of 1.3 percent growth this year despite a welter of weak data.

In a final news conference before general elections Sunday, Deputy Finance Minister Jose Manuel Campa conceded that 2011 growth would come in far below the official goal.

"We have to expect growth in this quarter similar to what we have had up to now, so average growth for the year will be close to what we have now," he told a news conference.

Annual economic growth in the third quarter was 0.8 percent, official data showed.

Finance Minister Elena Salgado has previously skirted around the subject, saying only that if she "was to redo the forecasts today, they would of course be different to those we did before summer."

But the administration did not revise the forecast ahead of November 20 elections, which the conservative opposition Popular Party is widely expected to win by a landslide.

© 2011 AFP

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