Spain Industrial Output Falls 7.5% In March
Spain, the euro zone's fourth-largest economy, said Monday industrial output decrease by 7.5 percent in March compared to the prior year, following sharp unemployment and shrinking gross domestic product, according to official data.
The productivity drop was the highest in nearly three years, exceeding February's 5.3 percent fall and January's 4.4 percent drop, the National Statistic Institute said Monday. Germany and France, the euro zone's largest economies, also had factory output contract in March.
Last week, officials reported Spain's GDP fell 0.3 percent in the first quarter, the same decrease in the fourth quarter of 2012.
High unemployment has plagued the country, leading to labor strikes and protests against austerity measures. Spain's unemploment rate rose to 24.4 percent in the first quarter, up from 22.85 percent in the fourth quarter, the worst in the euro zone.
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In April, Spain's interior minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz proposed a ban on protests that "seriously disturb the public peace," but officials are unlikely to enforce the ban. During the same month, Standard & Poor's cut Spain's credit rating to BBB+ from A, the second downgrade this year.
Spain's government forecasts a 1.7 percent fall in GDP this year, following 0.7 percent growth in 2011.
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