Spain has still not been able to emerge from the clutches of the global meltdown, a suggested by the preliminary official data on Thursday.

Reports from the national statistics agency INE have also confirmed that the Spanish economy receded by a further 0.1% in the last quarter of the previous year, which brought the overall fall in GDP for the year 2009 to 3.6%, a figure which is the largest observed in Spain for the past few decades. It also said that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) had fallen 3.1 % in comparison to the figures for the last quarter of 2008.

Spain’s economy is the fifth largest economy in Europe and is the only major economy which has failed to turn the tables on the global recession. It has been the most vulnerable to the global financial crisis as its growth was heavily dependent on the domestic demand fuelled by credit and a boom in property due to easily accessible loans that collapsed in the latter part of 2008, bringing to an end a decade which saw uninhibited building activity.

The INE’s figures are in accordance with the Q4 figures published by the Bank of Spain, confirming that the Spanish economy has been under recession for the past seven quarters. It, however, says that the shrinkage receded between October and December, as trading recovered to some extent and domestic demand went up a notch.