Bank of Spain: Recession may end later this year

The Spanish flag flies near a statue of Christopher Columbus on May 29, 2012 in Madrid, Spain.
File,Denis Doyle/Getty Images

MADRID Spain's central bank says the recession-battered economy could start growing again in the third quarter.

Governor Luis Maria Linde told Parliament on Thursday that data so far this year indicated that the worst of the latest recession appeared to be over and that "by the end of the year, or even in the third quarter, there could be growth."

Spain has been in recession for most of the past four years following the collapse of its credit-fueled real estate sector in 2008. The government has predicted the economy will contract by 1.3 percent overall in 2013.

Despite 27.2 percent unemployment and a still bloated deficit, the government has been unusually upbeat in recent days saying its reforms and austerity measures are paying off and recovery is in sight.