Greece beats deficit targets for 2012, as primary shortfall is slashed by 46pct

Greece’s primary deficit beat its target for 2012 by 1.1 billion euros, or 0.6 percent of gross domestic product, according to figures published by the Finance Ministry on Tuesday.

The government was aiming to have a primary deficit, which does not include interest payments, of 4.6 billion euros, or 2.4 percent of GDP, at the end of the year.

In fact, the figures came in at 3.5 billion euros, or 1.8 percent of GDP, largely on the back of higher than planned spending cuts.

This represents a 46 percent reduction on the primary deficit for 2011, which reached 6.4 billion euros or 3.1 percent of GDP.

The state budget deficit for 2012 was 15.7 billion euros, or 8.1 percent of GDP, which was a 31 percent reduction on the 2011 figure and 0.6 billion, or 0.3 percent of GDP, better than the target for last year.