Optimistic PM raises Spain’s growth forecast

Spain's conservative government has raised its economic growth forecast for this year to 3.3 percent and to 3 percent in 2016, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said on Thursday.

Optimistic PM raises Spain's growth forecast
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy arrives at a summit in Brussels in June. Photo: Thierry Charlier / AFP

The government, which is facing a year-end general election, had earlier this year hiked its economic growth forecast to 2.9 percent for 2015 and 2016.

It is more optimistic than the Bank of Spain which sees the eurozone's fourth largest economy expanding by 3.1 percent in 2015 and 2.7 percent in 2016.

Spain officially exited recession in late 2013 and the economy grew by 1.4 percent last year as consumer spending and investment improved.

That was its first full year of growth since a property bubble burst in 2008, throwing millions of people out of work.

Despite the strengthening in Spain's growth figures, the country's official unemployment rate remains extremely high.

It was 23.8 percent at the last count in the first quarter of this year.

Within the eurozone only Greece had a higher jobless rate, of 25.6 percent in March, the latest data available.

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