Spanish Retail Sales Suggest Momentum Despite Political Deadlock

  • Retail sales rise to three-month high in April as jobs grow
  • Guindos says Spanish economy could grow closer to 3% in 2016

Spanish retail sales rose to a three-month high in April, pointing to renewed momentum going into the second quarter as the nation prepares to hold a repeat election in June.

Monthly sales on a seasonally-adjusted basis ticked up 0.6 percent, marking the fastest pace since January, the Madrid-based National Statistics Institute said Friday. From a year ago, retail sales jumped 4.1 percent in April, the report showed.

After an inconclusive election in December, the nation has shrugged off political uncertainty to continue growing. The economy expanded 0.8 percent in the first quarter, beating expectations, fueled by household consumption on the back of strong jobs data.

Acting Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said on Thursday that early indicators point to sustained growth going into the second quarter, which should put Spain on track to grow closer to 3 percent in 2016. The caretaker government led by Mariano Rajoy currently forecasts growth of 2.7 percent this year and 2.4 percent in 2017.

The country is gearing up for the second ballot in six months on June 26, with surveys indicating that Rajoy’s incumbent PP party extending its lead, but still likely to fall short of a majority. The latest poll published by El Pais newspaper showed the anti-austerity group Podemos overtaking the Socialists in second place after joining forces with United Left, a former Communist party.

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