Decline in Greek deficit exceeds target

21:25, January 11, 2011      

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Greek state budget deficit dropped by 36.5 percent in 2010, more than the government's targeted reduction of 33.2 percent, the Greek Finance Ministry said Monday.

The state budget deficit for 2010 stood at 19.6 billion euros (25.3 billion U.S. dollars) compared with 30.87 billion euros (39.84 billion dollars) in 2009, according to preliminary data released by the ministry.

The deficit reduction in 2010 is mainly attributed to the reduction of expenditures. Ordinary expenditure fell 9 percent year-on-year against a targeted reduction of 7.5 percent, while primary expenditure decreased by 10.7 percent against an estimated 9 percent decline.

State budget revenues increased by about 7 percent and remained within target as a result of both increased tax and investment budget revenues in December.

Net revenues of the ordinary budget in the 12 months of 2010 increased by 5.5 percent against a target for an increase of 6 percent. Investment budget revenues increased by 50.2 percent against a targeted annual increase of 41.7 percent.

The latest data indicate that Greece remains within the targets of the Economic Policy Program agreed with the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in May 2010, stressed the Greek Finance Ministry.

Pressured under a 15.4 percent of GDP budget deficit in 2009, Greece reached the brink of bankruptcy in spring 2010. The eurozone country secured a multi-billion aid package from the IMF and European partners in exchange for drastic austerity measures and structural reforms to tackle the problem.

The aim is to bring the budget deficit to no more than 3 percent of GDP over a three-year period. Foreign lenders followed the Greek economy closely amidst fears for turbulence in the eurozone due to weaknesses of other european economies recently.

Source: Xinhua

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