Greek GDP declines 2.5 percent in 4th quarter of 2009

12:55, March 13, 2010      

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Greek gross domestic product (GDP) declined by 2.5 percent during the forth quarter of 2009, the Greek National Statistics Service announced on Friday.

The downturn is less than analysts expected, as Greece is hit hard by the economic crisis. Greek economy contracted by 2 percent in the same period of 2008.

A more encouraging sign is that the public revenues in the first two months of 2010 increased by 13.1 percent, higher than the 10.8 percent target set for the year by the government, the General Accounting Bureau said.

Public expenses in the same period dropped by 9.6 percent, far exceeding the 2.8 percent target set in the government budget.

According to official figures, the budget deficit in the first two months of 2010 declined by 77.4 percent, while the target was set at 27 percent.

Unemployment reached 10.2 percent last December, slightly down from 10.6 percent in November, but even the Greek Labor Minister Andreas Loverdos has expressed fears that it could climb higher during 2010.

Labor unions staged the third nationwide 24-hour strike in a month on Thursday, and plan to protest on next Tuesday.

Yiannis Panagopoulos, head of GSEE, the umbrella union of private sector employees, warned that unemployment could reach 20 percent, because of the austere measures promoted by the Greek government and Brussel.

Analysts in Athens point out that despite some positive signs, one cannot exclude the possibility that Greek economy could decline further, as private consumption has dropped by 1.6 percent.

According to the official statistics, the imports of goods and services also declined by 18 percent in the last quarter of 2009 year-on-year and the trend continues this year.

According to the progress report on the Greek Stability and Growth Program submitted to Brussels a few days ago by the Greek government, the GDP will drop by 0.3-0.8 percent in 2010.

Source: Xinhua
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