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ECONOMY

IMF: Spain will head 2015 EU growth

Latest report by world organization forecasts a small gain of 1.7% amid a global slowdown

A worker at a car manufacturing plant in Valencia.
A worker at a car manufacturing plant in Valencia.

Spain, a country with a 25% unemployment rate, public debt levels of nearly 100% of GDP and no alternative to construction as an engine of growth, has managed to become the only European economy with improved prospects for 2015, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The IMF Annual Assembly kicked off in Washington on Tuesday with mostly bad news: the global economy will grow by 3.8% next year, down from its July forecast of 4%.

But Spain’s economy will grow 1.3% this year and 1.7% in 2015, representing a gain of one tenth of a percentage point from July forecasts in both cases.

Spain has been registering small gains for the last 12 months, fueled by exports and later consumption

No other advanced European economy will grow at that pace next year, said the IMF.

“Growth in Spain has resumed, supported by external demand as well as higher domestic demand reflecting improved financial conditions and rising confidence,” reads the report.

Spain has been registering small gains for the last 12 months, fueled first by exports and later by consumption, which in turn was encouraged by job creation.

The government of Mariano Rajoy, of the Popular Party (PP), recently forecast 348,200 new jobs in 2015 and a slight reduction of the jobless rate. Experts at the IMF also expect unemployment to come down to 23.5% from a high of 26% in 2013.