MADRID, July 30 (Reuters) – Spain’s economy rebounded faster than expected in the second quarter after unexpectedly contracting in the first three months of the year, when growing contagion from COVID-19 imposed new restrictions on businesses.
Spain’s gross domestic product rose 2.8% in April-June from the previous quarter, faster than the 2.2% expected by analysts, official data showed on Friday. The economy contracted 0.4% in January-March.
“This week’s data confirms that a strong recovery is underway,” Economy Minister Nadia Calvino said on her Twitter account.
Year-over-year, the economy grew astonishing 19.8% in April-June, partly recovering the ground lost in the second quarter of 2020 when Spain’s strict coronavirus lockdown caused a contraction of 21.5%.
Growth has also been faster than the 2.4% Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez anticipated in an interview with Reuters a few days ago.
The Spanish economy, which was one of the hardest hit by the pandemic last year, with a staggering 11% contraction in 2020, is leading the rebound among the major countries of the European Union. France, which also released second-quarter GDP data on Friday, saw its activity increase by just 0.9%.
Earlier this week, the Spanish government kept its forecast for economic growth for the year at 6.5%. (Reporting by Joanna Jonczyk-Gwizdala, Inti Landauro, Additional reporting by Emma Pinedo and Cristina Galan, editing by Catherine Evans)