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A picture of a construction worker in Spain
Spain has seen its first quarterly economic growth since 2011, according to data from the country’s National Statistics agency INE.

The country’s GDP grew 0.1% in the July-to-September period, after contracting for the previous nine quarters.

Its growth confirmed last week’s estimates from the Bank of Spain.

Spain, the euro zone’s fourth-largest economy, has had more success than any other major economy on the Continent in carrying out the export-or-die prescription issued by the European Union, led by Germany, after Europe began to founder in 2008. The idea was that exports, backed by pro-business regulatory changes, would generate the foreign exchange needed to pay down mountainous national debts, while creating factory jobs that could give a lift to falling domestic spending.

Spain’s growing international sales, with exports of goods up by nearly 7% this year, are all the more impressive because even powerhouse Germany has seen recent weakness in sales abroad. The latest figure also beats the average growth during the boom years, before the global financial crisis hit.

Signs of an export-led Spanish turnaround have propelled the Madrid stock market up some 30% since June and prompted luminaries such as Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Carlos Slim to invest in Spanish ventures.

Spain’s exports of goods and services are up 21% since 2008. As a share of gross domestic product, they have risen to 34% from 26.5%, allowing Spain to leapfrog Italy and France in that measure.

The statistics mean Spain is officially out of recession.

The INE said an increasing number of exports supported the growth, with a boost to the tourist industry from holidaymakers avoiding northern Africa and the Middle East.

Ben May, economist at Capital Economics, said the growth was encouraging and cited business surveys that suggested there “may be more to come in the near term”.


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