Oct. 30 - Spain officially emerged from over two years of recession in the third quarter, as its economy grew by 0.1%, according to the state statistics agency. But as Joanna Partridge reports, weak domestic demand and high unemployment means a strong recovery looks unlikely.
Officially out of recession - just. After nine quarters - Spain returned to growth in the third quarter as its economy expanded by 0.1% The National Statistics Institute confirmed the recovery, as reported by the Bank of Spain last week. The economy was boosted by exports, the only area of growth since the recession began. It was also helped by a busy tourist season - as holidaymakers chose Spain, avoiding political troubles in the Middle East and north Africa. Christian Schulz is from Berenberg Bank. SOUNDBITE: Christian Schulz, Senior Economist, Berenberg Bank, saying (English): "It is mainly an export-driven recovery, what we're seeing in Spain. The domestic recovery is stabilising which is good, but that stabilisation is now allowing the growth in exports, which has been there for quite a while, to take the economy out of recession overall, and I think the next step will be for investment to return in Spain." There are other green shoots in the Spanish economy On Tuesday, data showed retail sales grew for the first time in over three years in September. They rose by 2.2% compared with a year earlier. But that growth was partly due to a sales tax increase in September 2012. Domestic consumption collapsed after the country's property crash in 2008, leaving millions out of work and thousands of companies out of business. The worst of the downturn may now be over - but with unemployment still at 26%, Spain's recovery may not be strong or sustained. And many Spaniards are still angry at government reforms. Workers at several train companies have called a 24-hour strike on Thursday, the day before a national holiday when many choose to travel, to protest against proposed restructuring.