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Experts surprised at Greece’s finances

Jun 09 2013 13:39

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Athens - The Hellenic statistical authority says the Greek economy's revised figure of 5.6% is slightly better than its prediction earlier that the figure would be 5.3%.

The authority said the economy contracted 5.6% in the first quarter compared with the first three months of 2012.

The figure was released shortly after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said it had underestimated how much deeper austerity measures would push Greece's economy into recession.

The revised figure was slightly better than the 5.7% shrinkage seen in the fourth quarter, according to finance ministry data.

Weighing on first-quarter GDP was an 8.3% year-on-year drop in consumer spending and an 11.4% fall in capital spending, the body said.

Helping it was a 22.9% decrease in the trade deficit as exports fell 2.6% and imports fell 7.8%.

The IMF admitted last week that there had been "notable failures" in Greece's bailout about how much the austerity mandated of it as part of its international bailouts - the first of which was agreed on in May 2010 - would slow its economy.

Athens so far has received about €200bn in loans from a rescue programme totalling €240bn.

Repeated austerity measures, which include salary and pension cuts as well as tax hikes, have helped reduce the country's budget deficit, but at the same time left it deeper in recession than what the IMF and its European partners had initially forecast.

Unemployment has surged to more than 27%.

The government has predicted that Greece would return to growth and international bond markets by the end of 2014.


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