Confidence is back as Spain exits recession

Tim Wallace
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THE TROUBLED Eurozone economy received a strong boost yesterday as Spain officially pulled out of recession in the third quarter, after more than two years of falling GDP.

But not all areas of the currency area are improving. Germany, which had led the recovery, has revealed a shock rise in unemployment in October.

Spain recorded GDP growth of 0.1 per cent in the three months to September, the first growth since early 2011.

However, the economy is still 1.2 per cent smaller than it was a year ago, and the country has a long way to go to unwind the effect of the property crash in 2008.

Economists believe the economy has rebalanced towards exports, allowing Spain to benefit from demand from faster-growing areas.

“In contrast to the ailing domestic picture, Spain’s external position continues to improve, buoyed by both gains in cost-competitiveness as well as an increasing geographical diversification of trade,” said Timo del Carpio from RBC Capital Markets.

“This may not be the launchpad for stellar growth going forward, but it is, in our view, an important staging post in what we consider will be a slow but steady recovery.”

It came as economic and business sentiment across the Eurozone picked up in October, according to European Commission numbers.

The business sentiment index increased 0.18 points to 0.1, close to its long-term average and indicating confidence and growth are on their way back to healthier levels.

And the economic sentiment indicator improved 0.9 points to 97.8, led by rising financial services, consumer and industry confidence.

However, there were some gloomier data from Germany.

Unemployment in the country increased by 2,000 to 2.97m, the highest rate since June 2011 and undermining hopes that the economy will lead the Eurozone recovery.

The unemployment rate held steady at 6.9 per cent in the month, still well below that in Spain, which has a rate of 26.9 per cent.