Spain: Exports continue to drive the economy
May 18, 2011
In the first quarter, GDP expanded 0.3% over the previous quarter in seasonally adjusted terms, according to more complete data released by the National Statistics Office (INE) on 18 May, which confirmed the advance estimate published on 13 May. The reading was up from both the 0.2% expansion recorded in the fourth quarter and the Central Bank's estimate, which had the economy growing at the same pace. On an annual basis, the economy expanded 0.8% in the first quarter, slightly above the 0.6% increase registered in the previous quarter. The expansion in the first quarter was driven by an improvement in the external sector as domestic demand continues to drag on the economy. Private consumption stagnated over the previous quarter, while government expenditure rebounded from a 0.7% contraction in the previous quarter to a 1.4% increase and gross fixed investment contracted 1.4% over the previous quarter (Q4: -1.4% qoq). The net contribution from the external sector to overall economic growth improved, as exports of goods and services increased 5.0% over the fourth quarter while imports rose 3.9%. The Central Bank anticipates the economy to expand 0.8% this year, and to accelerate further to 1.5% in 2012. These projections are below government expectations of a 1.3% expansion this year and growth of 2.5% in 2012.