Spanish April Industrial Output Declines as Recession Lingers

Spanish industrial output declined for a 20th month in April, contracting less than economists forecast, as the euro area’s fourth-largest economy remains mired in a recession the government predicts will end this year.

Production at factories, refineries and mines adjusted for the number of working days fell 1.8 percent from a year earlier, after declining a revised 0.8 percent in March, the National Statistics Institute in Madrid said in an e-mailed statement today. That compares with economists’ forecast of a 2.6 percent decline, according to six estimates in a Bloomberg News survey.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is counting on exports to end a six-year slump after changing labor rules to help companies cut payroll costs. Gross domestic product contracted for a seventh quarter in the first three months of the year as the toughest austerity measures in the nation’s democratic history and a 27 percent unemployment rate sap domestic demand.

Still, foreign sales reached a record high last year, and the country posted its first trade surplus in more than four decades in March. Companies such as swimming-pool supplier Fluidra SA have succeeded in boosting sales close to pre-crisis levels by finding foreign buyers to offset slumping demand in Spain.

The statistics office had initially reported a 0.6 percent contraction in March.