Finance

In U.S. charm offensive, Spanish PM highlights recovery to lure investment By Reuters

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© Reuters. Prime Minister of Spain Pedro Sanchez speaks during a Reuters NEXT Newsmaker event at Instituto Cervantes in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., July 21, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – Spain’s recovery plan needs the support of U.S. investment, Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said in a Reuters Newsmaker event during a trip to the United States where he highlighted his country’s improving economic prospects.

Spain’s economy expanded an estimated 2.4% in the second quarter from the preceding three months as it recovers from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and is on course to grow 6% this year and 7% in 2022, Sanchez said on Wednesday.

Employment grew by 4.9% in the same period, he said, expressing the hope that Spain would soon become “the fastest-growing economy in the developed world” with the support of government reforms, planned in areas such as labour, pensions and the environment.

Spain was one of the countries that suffered the most from the first wave of the pandemic last year, and its subsequent strict lockdown led to a record GDP slump of 10.8% last year.

Sanchez said Spain aims to attract $500 billion in private investment to complement a recovery programme financed by European Union aid, and he hoped modernisation projects spanning education, energy and digitalisation would draw in U.S. investors.

Spain will receive a total of 140 billion euros ($165 billion) in European recovery funds, half of it in grants. This year, Spain is due to receive 19 billion euros.

Sanchez met in New York with several major investors including Bloomberg founder Michael Bloomberg and Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock Inc (NYSE:). He will continue his tour in Los Angeles and San Francisco where he will meet with CEOs from the entertainment industry and Silicon Valley.

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