Statistics office confirms Spain back in recession

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MADRID (AP) -- Spain's National Statistics Institute confirms that the country's economy shrank 0.4 percent in the first quarter, placing the country back in recession.

The contraction, announced Monday, follows a 0.3 percent decline in the final quarter of last year. This is Spain's second recession in three years.

Two consecutive quarters of economic contraction are seen as constituting a technical recession.

The institute's findings confirm figures advanced by the Bank of Spain last week.

It comes days after Spain had its debt rating downgraded by Standard & Poor's.