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Spain raises growth forecast to 3.3% in 2015, 3% in 2016: PM

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

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

The government, which is facing a year-end general election, had earlier this year hiked its economic growth forecast to 2.9 per cent 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 per cent in 2015 and 2.7 per cent in 2016.

Spain officially exited recession in late 2013 and the economy grew by 1.4 per cent 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 per cent at the last count in the first quarter of this year.

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

AFP