Spanish factories raise output in March

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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Spanish children face pocket money pinch

Spanish children are among the biggest losers in Spain's crisis with pocket money totals falling fast, new figures on the spending habits of Spanish households show.

Spanish children face pocket money pinch
Spanish households increased education spending by an average of 7.4 percent in 2012. Photo: Adam Jones

Spanish households are spending an average of just over €9 ($11.85) a year on pocket money, the latest Household Budget Survey by Spain's national stats institute (the INE) reveals.

That means kids have seen their allowance drop by nearly 40 percent in the half decade from 2008 to 2012.

This figure was pulled out of the latest INE survey of household spending in Spain by the country's El País newspaper.

The report shows Spanish households gave out €28,152 in 2012, or 3.4 percent less than a year earlier.

Once the effect of changing prices is taken out, this figure becomes 4.4 percent

The INE report also reveals the average per person spend was €10,999 in 2012.

This figure was highest in the Basque country at €13,648 and lowest in Spain's African exclave of Melilla (€8,244).

In Barcelona, the average expenditure per person was €13,451 while in Catalonia this hit €11,871. 

The largest spending cuts were for cars (down 20.6 percent), clothes (10.5 percent lower) and all inclusive holidays (a fall of 9.9 percent).

Meanwhile, Spanish households upped spending on education by 7.4 percent.

Health care expenditure was also higher than in 2011, although this rise was a small 0.3 percent.

Costs for rent or mortgage, water, electricity and other fuels comprised an average 32.3 percent of household spending in 2012, with the total average outgoings being €9,090.

This weighting was 14.4 percent (€4,141) for food and non-alcoholic drinks.

Transport costs ate up an average 11.8 percent of household budgets in Spain, or €3,321.