Spain saw solid growth in cargo traffic by rail, air and sea in the first quarter of 2011 and at a much higher rate than the country’s economic growth, according to official data.
Cargo through Spanish ports increased 5 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, while international air freight grew 10 percent, Spain’s Ministry of Public Works said in a statement.
Cargo traffic can be an indicator of future growth for the economy as a whole, but Spain’s status as a major stopping point for east-west and US-bound container traffic can distort the extent to which the figures suggest growth is round the corner.
The bank of Spain said that Spain’s first-quarter GDP growth ticked up just 0.7 percent year-on-year with export growth supporting ongoing weak domestic demand.
Spain is particularly slow to recover from its own property driven crisis which has weakened its banking system and driven unemployment up to about 20 percent, feeding its large black economy.
Tackling the black economy could help plug a whole in Spain’s finances and restore international confidence in its capacity to service its debt, but few expect a major crackdown ahead of coming regional and general elections. (Reuters)