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Greece slows economic slump while Spanish factories gather steam

Latest economic data from the eurozone suggest the recovery in the region is gaining traction. Greece is growing out of a severe depression, and Spain’s industrial output has made a strong comeback.

The slide of the Greek economy appears close to coming to an end. First-quarter gross domestic product in the recession-hit eurozone country slipped by only 0.9 percent compared with the same quarter a year ago. That's according to latest data released by the country's statistics office, Elstat, Friday.

The quarterly decline between January and March was the lowest in five and a half years, Elstat said. That was better than expected by Elsat, which had projected a drop by 1.1 percent.

Still contracting

The Greek economy posted a contraction of 6 percent for the first quarter of 2013, highlighting the debt-laden country's severe depression at the time. After

a massive 240-billion-euro ($327-billion) bailout

by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, Greece hopes to return to 0.6 percent growth this year.

In another sign of the eurozone recovery gaining traction, Spanish industrial output enjoyed a four-year record surge in April.

Output at factories, refineries and mines rose by 4.3 per cent during the year leading up to April, the strongest increase since March 2010, the national statistics office INE said.

Last year, Spain grew out of a

double-dip recession

, logging 0.4 percent growth in the first quarter of 2014, the strongest quarterly rise in 6 years.

Improving economic prospects in the eurozone's crisis-hit southern periphery have also led to lower interests to be paid by Spain and Greece for their massive debt.

Yields on

Greek five-year government bonds

fell 25 basis points to 4.46 percent in bond markets on Friday, while Spanish sovereign debt dropped to 1.37 percent.

uhe/kpc (Reuters, dpa)

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