Spanish consumers sustain growth momentum as poll impasse stays

Spnish consumers copy


The strength of Spanish consumers helped maintain momentum in the fourth quarter as an inconclusive election result led to political gridlock.
Household consumption showed signs of resistance expanding 0.8 percent from the previous three months, when it grew 1.1 percent, the Madrid-based National Statistics Institute said on Thursday.
Gross domestic product expanded 0.8 percent in the three months to December while imports grew just 0.3 percent, down from 3.1 percent in the third quarter. Exports, which initially led the recovery, lost steam, expanding 0.9 percent from 1.8 percent the previous quarter.
The pace of quarterly expansion matched the statistics office initial estimate released Jan. 29.
Overall, the Spanish economy grew 3.2 percent in 2015, the fastest pace since the 2007, although marginally below the government’s target of 3.3 percent for the year.
Job creation for the quarter, which typically sees firms hiring temporary workers, slipped to 0.6 percent from 0.7 percent. On an annual basis, employment rose 3 percent.
“Overall, a set of positive data and some strong figures in capex investment, this is a piece of data we’ll be watching out for going into the first quarter to see whether the political uncertainty starts to affect business decisions,” said Estefania Ponte, research director at BNP Paribas Personal Investors in Madrid.
In its monthly economic bulletin published on Feb. 24, the Bank of Spain said dynamism stemming from household consumption continued this year, but noted confidence indicators had shown “mixed signals” in January as talks to form a government dragged on following December’s election.

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