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Spain 2012 economy shrinks more than anticipated so far

Spain's national statistics agency has had to revise down its 2012 growth figures for the eurozone's fourth-biggest economy. Contraction last year was larger than thought because of lower domestic demand.

Spain's job-destroying recession last year was even deeper than first announced, the country's National Statistics Institute, INE, reported Tuesday.

It said the Spanish economy shrank by 1.6 percent in 2012, revised down from an earlier assessment of 1.4 percent. The institute said the revision came on the back of more precise consumption figures that had only now become available, with domestic demand lower than previously thought.

INE also revised its growth figures for the previous year, saying that in 2011 gross domestic product was up only 0.1 percent instead of the 0.4 percent assumed earlier.

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Despite a number of structural problems continuing to weigh on the economy, there have been some bright spots in 2013 that suggest the country is making progress towards leaving recession behind.

Spain enjoyed a surge in exports in June that nearly wiped out its trade deficit. It slumped to 106.7 million euros ($142 million), down 96 percent from a shortfall of 2.7 billion euros posted a year earlier.

Another sign of hope has been the rise in tourist arrivals. In July, a record number of foreigners flocked to Spain. The welcome influx was led by visitors from Britain with 1.8 million people, followed by visitors from France and Germany with 1.2 million each.

Tourism is Spain's second most important industry after car manufacturing and thus plays a pivotal role in endeavors to get the economy back on track for sustainable growth.

hg/hc (dpa, AFP)

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