The pace of growth in Spain's economy slowed slightly to 0.8 percent quarter-on-quarter between July and September. As David Pollard reports, with weeks to go until a general election the country's uneven recovery from a deep crisis is weighing on voters.
Spain's emerged from some dark economic times to be a top performer in the euro zone. Consumer spending helping. But it's not the smoothest of journeys. After a one per cent burst in Q2, growth eased back to 0.8 percent on the quarter for Q3. And with national elections just weeks away, many are fed up with low salaries. That is, if they have a job. One in five are out of work - nearly one in two young people. Simon French of Panmure Gordon. SOUNDBITE (English) SIMON FRENCH, CHIEF ECONOMIST, PANMURE GORDON, SAYING: "There's a whole potentially lost generation in not just in Spain but a lot of the peripheral European states who haven't got that attachment to the labour market because they just simply haven't experienced the world of work, and that stands to be a dampener on Spanish economic potential going forward for many, many years. So a real challenge for policy-makers and something that will loom large in the general election campaign." Even so, the economy is seen as Prime Minister Rajoy's strongest suit. His centre-right People's Party attempting to lure back voters lost to anti-austerity parties. To see how well they're doing, look next door to Portugal, says French - it named a Socialist as prime minister this week. SOUNDBITE (English) SIMON FRENCH, CHIEF ECONOMIST, PANMURE GORDON, SAYING: "The political will to do balance-sheet repair, public sector balance sheets, is waning and waning fast, and politicians are going to have to navigate the next few years very carefully." On the year, growth is up strongly - to a resurgent 3.4 per cent. Exports, though: they're down - as demand slips in key emerging markets like Latin America.