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Spanish Exports Declined in April, Deepening Economic Slump

June 20 (Bloomberg) -- Spanish exports declined in April for the first time in more than two years, deepening a recession in the euro area’s fourth-largest economy.

The value of Spanish goods and services sold abroad dropped 0.8 percent in April from a year earlier, after rising 1.2 percent in March, the Economy Ministry in Madrid said in an e-mailed statement. That’s the first drop since November 2009.

“This is very bad news for Spain as exports are the only driver left to its economy and they are not even strong enough to generate growth as it is,” Jesus Castillo, an economist at Natixis in Paris, said in a telephone interview. “It’s not good for Europe either, even Germany can start to worry about its partnering economies’ slowing down.”

The yield on Spain’s 10-year benchmark bond rose to a euro-era record of 7.29 percent on June 18 after the country requested a bailout for its banks. Investors doubt the government can tackle a budget deficit similar to that of Greece with close to a quarter of its work force unemployed.

Spanish sales were hurt by weaker demand from other European Union countries. Exports to France, Spain’s largest trading partner with a share of 17.8 percent, fell 0.9 percent, while those to the U.K. declined 9.5 percent, the ministry said.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s government, in power since December, forecasts an economic contraction of 1.7 percent this year as austerity measures help to push domestic demand down 4.4 percent, more than twice last year’s rate.

To contact the reporter on this story: Angeline Benoit in Madrid at abenoit4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net

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