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Spanish factories raise output in March

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11:45 CEST+02:00
Spain's factories are gently lifting production in response to a hesitant, jobs-starved recovery from years of recession, official data showed on Thursday.

Spanish factories and utilities raised output at an annual rate of 0.6 percent in March, after smoothing out seasonal blips, the National Statistics Institute (INE) said.

It was the fifth straight month of rising industrial output in the Spanish economy, which emerged in mid-2013 from five years of stop-start recession.

Despite reporting slow economic growth, Spain remains scarred by a 2008 property crash, which destroyed millions of jobs. In the first quarter of this year, the unemployment rate edged up to nearly 26 percent.

Spanish industry appears to be reacting to the resulting weakness in the consumer sector, latest data showed, with output of consumer goods easing 0.2 percent.

A breakdown showed production of durable consumer goods such as cars or refrigerators slumped by 4.8 percent while output of non-durable consumer goods such as paper or food edged up by 0.8 percent.

More hopefully, output of business equipment such as machinery climbed 3.0 percent and intermediate goods used in manufacturing, such as textiles or chemicals, rose by 1.7 percent. Utilities lowered energy output by 2.5 percent.

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