While signs of an economic revival in Europe remain tentative at best, economists say one country has emerged as the region's shining star: Spain.
"We believe growth will continue to surpass expectations in 2015, anchored by both structural reform and positive cyclical factors," said economists at AB, formerly known as Alliance Bernstein, in a recent note.
AB expects Spain's economy to expand 2.5 percent this year, above consensus estimates of 2.2 percent and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's 2.4 percent forecast. It's also well above the euro zone's projected 1.6 percent expansion.
Spain already has the second-fastest growth rate in the euro zone, with fourth-quarter gross domestic product up 2 percent on year. 2014 saw the economy expand 1.4 percent, a dramatic recovery from the 1.2 percent contraction in 2013 and the first year of annual positive growth in Spain since the onset of the crisis in 2008.
Analysts at BBVA are equally bullish, predicting 2.7 percent growth for both this year and 2016. That in turn should create a million jobs by the end of 2016, bringing the unemployment rate down to 20 percent from 23.7 percent currently.
"The trend in the variables indicates that the Spanish economy's recovery will press on in 2015," the bank said in a report on Wednesday, citing tax reforms, robust private demand, supportive fiscal and monetary measures and recent structural changes like re-directing production to the export sector.
Recent data underpins economic optimism. Retail sales rose for the sixth consecutive month in January, while house prices increased at their fastest rate in six years during the fourth-quarter.