The Council of Ministers today approved the Stability Program (2013-2016) and the National Plan of Reforms, the two basic documents that contain the Government's economic policy strategy, within the European commitments. They make a diagnosis of the situation that the Spanish economy is going through, establish a realistic scenario for the coming years and set the measures to be adopted. The objective is to persevere in correcting the imbalances and lay the foundations for recovery and job creation, which will arrive in 2014.

The forecasts presented today place the exit from the recession for next year, with economic growth of 0.5%, compared to a drop of 1.3% this year. The downward revision of growth in 2013 is part of the regular periodic updates. Above all, it responds to a worse international context and is in line with reviews by organizations such as the IMF or the European Commission. This scenario is compatible with a profile of a slight slowdown in negative quarter-on-quarter rates for the remainder of the year and the start of the relaunch of activity in early 2014.

The expected economic recovery is underpinned by the foreign sector, as domestic demand will take time to make a positive contribution to growth. While private consumption stabilized in 2014 and began to register positive rates in the following two years, the Administration sector registered downward variations as a consequence of the necessary fiscal consolidation. Investment (gross fixed capital formation) took off in 2015 and grew strongly (4.3%) one year later. Overall, national demand begins to register a positive contribution to growth in 2016.

On the contrary, external demand maintains a positive contribution to growth. This year it will contribute 2.4 points to GDP on a downward path until 2016, on the basis that domestic demand will gradually take over. The goal is to achieve a more balanced growth pattern. During these years, the strength of exports will continue, until growing by 7.1% in 2016, reflecting the strong gains in competitiveness of the Spanish economy. Imports are also on the rise, in parallel with the recovery of the economy.

This year Spain will register financing capacity compared to the rest of the world (1.9 points of GDP), which represents a change of sign with respect to the most recent situation and reaching levels never achieved in the Spanish economy. This is the correction of an imbalance necessary to overcome the recession, since it implies that Spain is considerably reducing its debtor position vis-à-vis abroad. This improvement will be seen above all in the private sector and will make it possible to amortize debt and finance consumption and investment expenses.

Forecasts on the evolution of employment indicate that the destruction of jobs is slowing down, until reaching positive rates in 2015. These data, measured on an annual average, are compatible with a trend change profile already next year, with quarter-on-quarter rates positive. The recent labor reform and greater flexibility in the labor market will allow the Spanish economy to continue with the improvements in competitiveness derived from the moderation of costs and prices. The objective is for the Spanish economy to create more employment in relation to GDP than in previous years. The unemployment rate flexed in 2014 (up to 26.7% of the active population), to be below 25% in 2015.

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