Spain's economy slipped into a recession in the first quarter of 2012 as the government's stringent budget cuts crimped domestic demand, data showed on Monday.
The Spanish economy contracted by 0.3% in the first three months of 2012 from the previous quarter, according to preliminary data released by the national statistics office.
This was the second straight quarter of economic decline for Spain, putting it officially in a recession.
Spain's GDP had shrunk by 0.3% in the fourth-quarter of 2011.
On an annual basis, the Spanish economy contracted by 0.4% in the January to March quarter, compared to an annual expansion of 0.3% in the fourth quarter of 2011.
Economists had forecast a 0.4% contraction in the first quarter, matching an estimate by the Bank of Spain.
The Government is targeting a 0.2% growth in GDP for 2013, but expects the economy to contract 1.7% this year.
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