Spain's economy expanded for the second consecutive time in the fourth quarter, raising hopes for more job creation, preliminary estimates from the statistical office INE showed Thursday.
Gross domestic product rose 0.3 percent sequentially, following the 0.1 percent increase in the prior quarter, which was the first rise since the start of 2011.
The fourth quarter figure matched economists' expectations and the flash estimate published by the Bank of Spain on January 23. GDP breakdown will be released with final figures on February 27.
On a yearly basis, GDP fell 0.1 percent, slower than the 1.1 percent decline in the third quarter. The central bank had estimated nil growth for the fourth quarter.
For the whole year of 2013, GDP shrunk 1.2 percent compared to the 1.6 percent decrease in 2012.
Earlier in the week, Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said the economy will grow close to 1 percent in 2014, a rate faster the official estimate of 0.7 percent.
The Washington-based International Monetary Fund projects 0.6 percent growth this year and 0.8 percent for 2015.
Spain has one of the highest unemployment rate in Europe after Greece. Despite exiting recession, Spain's jobless rate remained at 26 percent in the fourth quarter of last year.
De Guindos expects the jobless rate to fall to 25 percent by the end of 2014.
by RTT Staff Writer
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