There have been fresh hopes of sustainable recovery for the Spanish economy as end-of-year growth figures have shown the second consecutive quarterly expansion. But record-high unemployment remains a major worry.
Spain's economy grew by 0.3 percent in the final quarter of 2013, after already expanding by 0.1 percent between July and September, the National Statistics Institute (INE) reported Thursday.
While fourth-quarter growth was still modest, it marked the fastest pace of expansion since the start of the financial crisis five years ago.
"It's a sign of hope, but it's still very little and needs more time to strengthen," Economy Minister Luis de Guindos commented.
Over the whole of 2013, the economy shrank by 1.2 percent, though, as the Southern European eurozone member struggled with the aftermath of a property bubble which imploded back in 2008.
"The path is full of curves, most of all we worry about the unemployment rate of over 26 percent," the minister said.
Luis de Guindos said he expected the economy to grow by about 1 percent in the current year. But it remained unclear how much growth was exactly needed to bring down unemployment effectively, with 5.9 million people out of work towards the end of 2013.
hg/ (AFP, Reuters)