Spanish PM dismisses fears that his country will return to recession
SPAIN'S prime minister said yesterday that he expected his country's economy to grow again in the final three months of the year after a flat third-quarter performance raised fears that the eurozone's fourth-largest economy could be heading back into recession.
Giving reporters an end-of-year review of the country's economic and political situation, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said none of the three quarters this year had shown falling output and that he expected the final quarter to show that growth had returned.
The Spanish economy posted a flat quarterly performance during the July-September period, although it rose 0.2pc on a year-on-year basis -- the first such rise in seven quarters. In the first two quarters growth was extremely sluggish.
One of the government's chief tasks is to slash a swollen deficit from 11.2pc of gross domestic product in 2009 to within the EU limit of 3pc by 2013.
Mr Zapatero said his government was on track to meet that objective following a series of labour-market reforms and austerity measures.
The prime minister added that he was determined to present reforms to the country's pension system -- including pushing back the retirement age from 65 years to 67.