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Greek economy to shrink by 4.5 pct in 2012

(Xinhua)

08:39, March 20, 2012

ATHENS, March 19 (Xinhua) -- Greece is expected to remain in recession for a fifth straight year in 2012 with the economy shrinking by 4.5 percent and recovery due to start in 2013, according to the Greek Central Bank annual report on monetary policy released on Monday.

The ailing economy which struggles since 2009, will restore growth and overcome the debt crisis only with continuing strong focus on the austerity and structural reform drive under way, said the survey.

"The most significant factor for the success of the economic program aiming to resolve the crisis is the strict implementation," stressed the report.

The Greek GDP contracted by 6.9 percent last year, while recession-linked unemployment reached 17.7 percent on average on an annual basis and is expected to further climb up to some 19 percent by 2013, according to the latest official estimates by the Central Bank of Greece.

The report was released as Greece secured this month a second multi-billion euro aid package by European Union and International Monetary Fund to cover its financing needs and continue efforts to tackle the lingering debt crisis.

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