By CIARAN GILES, Associated Press
MADRID (AP) — Spain's economy did worse in 2011 and 2010 than previously estimated, the National Statistics Institute said Monday, adding to the gloom surrounding the country as it struggles to emerge from recession and avoid a sovereign bailout.
The INE said that fresh data showed GDP increased 0.4 percent in 2011 instead of 0.7 percent last year as exports and consumer demand were weaker than earlier calculated. It also showed that the economy shrank by 0.3 percent in 2010 instead of 0.1 percent.
Estimates of economic contraction of 3.7 percent in 2009 and 0.9 percent in 2008 remained unchanged.
Spain is in its second recession in three years with near 25 percent unemployment. The economy contracted 0.4 percent in the second quarter compared with the first quarter, when it shrank 0.3 percent. The government estimates it will contract 1.5 percent this year and 0.5 percent in 2013.
The latest figures come at the start of a hectic week for Spain as it battles to avoid seeking a sovereign bailout.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will hold talks with European Council President President Herman van Rompuy and on Thursday he will meet with French President Francois Hollande.
Also on Tuesday, the Treasury will test investor confidence with a debt auction of three- and six-month bills. The country's borrowing costs have soared in recent months as speculation mounted that it would not be able to manage its finances. Those borrowing rates fell back down somewhat in recent weeks on hopes that the European Central Bank will intervene in markets to lower them
Spain has already sought a loan of up to €100 billion ($125 billion) from its 16 eurozone partners to help some of its banks that are laden with soured real estate investments following the collapse of the property sector and the onset of the financial crisis in 2008.
On Friday, the government is expected to approve a law setting up a 'bad bank' that will pool many of those assets. The Cabinet may also approve a decree giving its central bank more power to intervene faster in banks deemed to be shaky.
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