Greek deficit falls in 2010 but still higher than expected

10:59, April 27, 2011      

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The Greek government's fiscal deficit fell to 10.5 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2010 from 15.4 percent in 2009, still shy of the 9.6 percent target, official figures showed Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Athens' public debt grew from 127.1 percent of GDP to 142.8 percent, the highest among the 17 European Union (EU) nations that use the euro, EU statistics office Eurostat said.

Greece was forced to ask for a bailout from the EU and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in May last year after the country could not refinance its huge debts at the punitively high rates offered in the finanical markets due to its fiscal woes.

One year later, investors remain unconvinced that Athens can escape the sovereign debt crisis despite the bailout. There has been widespread speculation the government will have no choice but to restructure its debts since the country's sluggish economy can not make up the gap.

The European Commission said last autumn the Greek fiscal deficit and public debt should be 9.6 percent and 140.2 percent of GDP respectively in 2010.

For the whole eurozone, government deficits decreased from 6.3 percent of GDP in 2009 to 6 percent in 2010, while public debt increased from 79.3 percent of GDP at the end of 2009 to 85.1 percent at the end of 2010, Eurostat said.

Source: Xinhua
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