Spain says post-recession recovery speeds up end 2013

Spain announced Thursday a slight uptick in economic growth at the end of 2013 as it emerged slowly from five years of stop-start recession that destroyed millions of jobs.

Despite being dragged down by an unemployment rate topping 26 percent, the eurozone's fourth-largest economy grew by 0.3 percent in the final quarter of the year, the National Statistics Institute said in a preliminary report.

The result confirmed estimates by the Bank of Spain and the government, both of which predicted the gentle acceleration in economic activity, which had expanded by 0.1 percent in the third quarter.

Spain's economy shrank by 1.2 percent over the whole of 2013, however, the figures showed, as it still struggled to overcome the shattering aftermath of decade-long property bubble that imploded in 2008.

In the final quarter of 2013, Spain's economy was powered by exports, even though they declined a little, the figures showed.

The negative impact of weak domestic demand eased a little, too, the report said.