Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero said Tuesday that Spain would not only meet its 2010 target of reducing its deficit to 9.3 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) from 11.2 percent in 2009, but that the figure would be in fact “a little better” than expected. He also restated the country would meet the 2011 target cutting the deficit to 6 percent of the GDP.
Unemployment in December, which usually increases due to seasonal labor trends, also fell slightly. In the presentation of 2010 labor statistics, Social Security Minister Octavio Granado claimed Tuesday that 2010 “was the last year of the crisis” in terms of employment, despite the overall rate increasing slightly to just fewer than 20 percent. Some 175,000 jobs were shed last year, which is nonetheless a fraction of the million lost in 2008 and the nearly 800,000 in 2009.
The three-day visit of China’s Vice Premier Li Keqiang, who will meet Mr. Zapatero and King Juan Carlos Wednesday, has further buoyed government optimism. Mr. Li and a business delegation of more than 100 people travels next to Germany and the UK.
Li, who is considered next in line to replace Premier Wen Jiabao, Monday wrote in an Op-Ed column in El País, Spain’s main daily, that China has “confidence in the European financial market, and, in particular, the Spanish financial market, which has meant the purchase of its public debt, something which we will continue to do in the future.”