MADRID, July 29 (Xinhua) -- Spanish Minister of Economy Luis de Guindos said that Spain's economy would grow by close to 1.5 percent this year, the Europa Press Agency reported on Tuesday.
De Guindos made this statement at Spanish parliament, where he also pointed out that the country's economy would grow by close to 2 percent in 2015.
Both forecasts are more optimistic than official predictions made in April, when the government said Spanish gross domestic product (GDP) would grow by 1.2 percent in 2014 and by 1.8 percent in 2015.
De Guindos also said that the unemployment rate, which is very high in Spain, would also improve in September when the government will present new forecasts.
The Spanish government had predicted in April that unemployment rate would fall to 24.9 percent in 2014 and to 23.3 percent in 2015, falling below 20 percent in 2017.
According to de Guindos, the expected improvements in the economic situation are due to increases in domestic demand and exports. Domestic demand has been increasing for four consecutive quarters.
The minister said that now Spain needs to strengthen the economic recovery in order to significantly reduce unemployment and increase income.
Meanwhile, Tuesday also saw the Ministry of Public Administration publish new data about public deficit, which stood at 2.35 percent of the country's GDP as of May without taking into account the deficit of Spanish local governments.
The figure, 24.418 billion euros (32.770 billion U.S. dollars), meant a 4 percent decrease when compared with the deficit of the same period in 2013.
According to the ministry, the deficit of the central administration stood at 2.27 percent, the deficit of Spanish regions stood at 0.60 percent while the country's Social Security system registered a 0.52 percent surplus.