SPAIN’S economy grew by 0.6% in the first quarter of 2023, compared to the previous three months according to figures published on Friday by the National Statistics Institute(INE).

The data is better than preliminary INE estimates of 0.5% growth and shows the country is doing better than most other euro zone countries

“It confirms that we have already returned to pre-pandemic GDP,” the Economy Ministry said in a statement, with Spain gearing up for a general election on July 23.

Spain was the European country hardest hit by the pandemic, with its GDP falling by 11.3% in 2020.

The gradual opening up to tourism meant the country took longer to recover to pre-pandemic levels than neighbouring countries.

But figures so far this year are indicating that 2023 will be a record year for tourism with the INE data showing showed better than expected domestic consumption, robust exports and a stronger than forecast recovery in tourism.

The Spanish economy is outperforming the euro area, which was in a technical recession in the first quarter, according to preliminary data.

Spanish GDP in the first three months of 2023 grew 4.2% from a year earlier, INE said, up from its previous estimate of 3.8%.

Growth data for the fourth quarter of 2022 were also revised slightly upwards.

Exports continued to be one of the driving forces of the economy in January to March according to the INE, with an increase of more than 10%.

The services sector, which accounts for more than 70% of GDP in Spain, performed better than expected, with restaurants and retail growing 10% compared to the same quarter last year.


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