Europe

Spain's economy keeps up positive run with Q1 growth

Spain's economy expanded by 0.8 percent in the first quarter, the National Institute of Statistics said Friday, keeping it as one of the fastest-growing in the European Union.

It was Spain's 14th consecutive quarter of growth since it emerged from a grueling five-year financial crisis in late 2013.

The institute said that over the year, the country's GDP expanded by 3 percent. By comparison, the economy grew 3.2 percent in 2016.

Economy Minister Luis de Guindos on Friday said the government had revised upward its 2017 growth forecast from 2.5 percent to 2.7 percent.

De Guindos said the economy was expected to continue to grow by 2.5 percent in 2018 and by 2.4 percent in each of the following two years.

The conservative government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has made economic growth and job creation its main policies since taking office in 2011.

It has managed to reduce unemployment from a 27 percent high in 2013 to 19 percent but Spain still has the second-highest unemployment rate in the 28-country EU behind Greece.

De Guindos said the government is confident it will be slashed to 11.2 percent in 2020.