Sex, drug trades add billions to Spanish output: data

Sex, drug trades add billions to Spanish output: data
This May 18, 2004 file photo shows actors preparing to film a porn scene for the adult film production company Vivid Entertainment in Canoga Park, California.

MADRID - The sex and drug trades were among illegal activities that boosted Spain's economic output by nearly 10 billion euros (S$16.14 billion), new official data revealed on Thursday.

The figures came in a report by Spain's National Statistics Institute which for the first time applied new EU norms requiring illegal activities to be counted in estimates of gross domestic product (GDP).

The institute estimated that in 2010, illicit activities, principally prostitution and drug crimes, but also tobacco smuggling and gambling, accounted for 0.87 per cent of the economy overall - equivalent to 9.4 billion euros.

Once production was recalculated using the new norms, Spain's GDP in 2013 was more than 26 billion euros higher than previously estimated - 1.05 trillion euros overall, the institute said.

That new figure included illegal activity but also other legal sources of income that were previously excluded from the calculation, such as military assets and research investment.

The institute said it consulted "academic and scientific studies" and official reports and surveys to estimate income from illegal activities, in line with the norms of EU statistics body Eurostat.

"The government has no problem doing this, technical or otherwise," said an official in the economy ministry who asked not to be named.

"It is simply a matter of applying a decision by Eurostat, which was made to harmonise calculation methods" across EU countries, the official told AFP.

It gave the 2010 estimate as an indicator but said it would not give a breakdown of economic production for prostitution, drugs and other activities in future.

Spain emerged from recession in mid-2013. The government has said it is likely to raise its growth forecast to 1.5 per cent for 2014 and two per cent for next year.

After five years of crisis sparked by the bursting of a construction bubble in 2008, Spain's unemployment rate is still close to 25 per cent.

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