Spain’s economy slumps 5.2%


View of the empty hall of the Son Sant Joan's Airport in Palma de Mallorca taken on April 30, 2020, during a national lockdown to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 disease. - AFP

MADRID: Spain’s economy shrank 5.2% in the first quarter, bringing to an abrupt halt six years of robust growth that had pulled the country out of the last major crisis.

That contraction was deeper than the 4.3% drop that economists surveyed by Bloomberg had forecast.

France reported a 5.8% decline in output in the first three months of the year, the most since records began in 1949. An estimate for the eurozone is expected to be similarly downbeat.

Spain’s data is a harbinger of bleaker numbers, with a double-digit slump forecast for the current quarter.

The government ordered one of Europe’s strictest confinements starting in mid-March, which means that first-quarter data only takes into account around 15 days of the economic freeze.

Spain’s statistics agency INE said the difficulty of measuring economic output during the confinement means that future revisions on first-quarter data are likely be “of a greater magnitude than usual.” — Bloomberg

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