Spanish economy grows 0.3% in first quarter

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Spain's battered economy expanded by 0.3 percent in the first quarter of 2011, preliminary data showed on Friday, encouraging news as it fends off debt crisis fears.

Growth in Spain's total economic output, or gross domestic product, crept up from a 0.2-percent pace in final quarter of 2010, the National Statistics Institute said.

Pounded by the double-punch of an international financial crisis and the bursting of a property bubble, Spain plunged into a recession with a 3.7-percent GDP contraction in 2009.

The economy stabilised last year, shrinking by just 0.1 percent. But the unemployment rate ended the year at 20.33, the highest in the industrialised world.

© 2011 AFP

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