MADRID — The Spanish economy rebounded faster than expected in the second quarter after unexpectedly contracting in the first three months of the year, when rising COVID-19 contagion forced new restrictions on businesses.
Spain’s gross domestic product expanded 2.8% in April-June compared to the quarter before, faster than the 2.2% expected by analysts, official data showed on Friday. The economy had contracted 0.4% in January-March.
“This week’s data confirm a strong recovery is ongoing,” Economy Minister Nadia Calvino said on her Twitter account.
Year on year, the economy grew a stunning 19.8% in April-June, partly recovering ground lost during the second quarter of 2020 when Spain’s strict coronavirus lockdown caused a 21.5% contraction.
The growth reading was also faster than the 2.4% Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez had anticipated in an interview with Reuters a few days ago.
The Spanish economy, which was one of the worst hit by the pandemic last year, with an eye-watering 11% contraction in 2020, is leading the rebound among large European Union countries. France, which also unveiled second quarter GDP data on Friday, saw activity expand by just 0.9%.
Earlier this week, the Spanish government maintained its economic growth forecast for the year at 6.5%. (Reporting by Joanna Jonczyk-Gwizdala, Inti Landauro, Additional reporting from Emma Pinedo and Cristina Galan, Editing by Catherine Evans)