The International Monetary Fund's forecast that the Spanish economy will shrink by an additional 1.3 percent in 2013 is "not etched in bronze," the Iberian nation's economy minister said here Tuesday.
Luis de Guindos spoke to reporters following a meeting of European Union finance and economy ministers in Luxembourg.
IMF projections "are like those the other international analysts and also private analysts make: they are absolutely respectable, but they are not etched in bronze," he said.
While both the IMF and the government in Madrid expect Spain's economy to contract 1.5 percent this year, their respective projections for 2013 diverge sharply.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's administration predicts Spanish gross domestic product will slip by 0.5 percent next year, compared with the IMF's forecast of a further decline of 1.3 percent.
The Fund also says Spain will run a budget deficit equal to 7 percent of GDP this year and 5.7 percent in 2013, though Madrid has pledged to hit EU-mandated targets of 6.3 percent and 4.5 percent of GDP.
De Guindos noted that the IMF's latest forecasts are more pessimistic about the global economy in general as well as the troubled eurozone.
The Spanish government's task, he said, will be to ensure that the IMF's projection of a 1.3 percent fall in GDP next year does not materialize.
"That has to be the will of the government, to try to modify negative projections," the economy minister said.
"There is no one, no European institution nor country, that has cast the slightest doubt on the effort Spain is making, starting from a difficult situation in 2011, to mend its accounts and to do it in a way that is sensible when it comes to minimizing the impact on economic activity," De Guindos said. EFE