Greek economy gains ground in first quarter
ATHENS - Agence France-Presse
The Greek economy did markedly better than expected in the first quarter of this year, shrinking by 0.9 percent over a year, the statistics office has said.The Greek economy did markedly better than expected in the first quarter of this year, shrinking by 0.9 percent over a year instead of 1.1 percent estimated in May, the statistics office said.
The bailed-out and austerity-shocked economy has been in recession for six years, but the latest figures support the government’s hopes that this year the economy will switch into growth of 0.6 percent.
That would mark rapid progress, since in the last quarter of last year, the economy showed shrinkage over 12 months of 2.3 percent.
And in the whole of 2013, gross domestic product shrank by 3.9 percent.
The statistics agency Elstat said that the first-quarter performance had turned out stronger than thought because data which had not been available previously had been included in the update.
The recession has been easing noticeably since the third quarter of last year.
Extremely high unemployment has began to fall slowly in September last year, and was down to 26.8 percent of the workforce in March, although this is one of the highest levels in the eurozone along with the rate in Spain.
The European Commission estimates that eurozone Greece will emerge from recession this year and will advance to growth of 2.9 percent in 2015, driven by progress on budget stability, competitiveness and confidence which will boost exports and investment.