Primary surplus in Jan-Nov 2013 exceeds 2.5 bln euros

The primary surplus of the budget for the January-November 2013 period soared to 2.55 billion euros based on the terms used in the country’s bailout deal, while the state has approved the repayment of 6.8 billion euros of its expired debts to the private sector, according to data released on Tuesday by the Finance Ministry.

On a cash basis, the surplus in the first 11 months of last year came to 4.7 billion euros, but that also includes the budget revenues from the Eurosystem amounting to 2.18 billion euros that Greece’s creditors do not take into account. Originally, the plan for 2013 had been for a zero primary surplus.

This particularly good picture regarding the execution of the budget is mostly attributed to figures concerning the social security funds. State General Accounting Office data showed that the primary surplus of the social security organizations and hospitals stood at 2.1 billion euros in the year to end-November.

The ministry estimates that last year signaled the start for the repayment of the state’s debts to the market and laid the groundwork for the smallest possible creation of new debts. Notably, the target included for 2013 in the 2014 budget was for the repayment of debts of 6.6 billion euros of expired debts, so the target was beaten by some 200 million euros. Still, the market has only collected 6.2 billion euros of that to date, due to bureaucratic delays.

Accounting Office data showed that the sum of expired state debts at end-November amounted to 5.8 billion euros, including tax rebates that were not paid out. This may be considerably smaller than the 9 billion euros at the start of 2013, but it remains too high a figure and the ministry admits that efforts have to intensify for the state to repay all of its debts to the private sector, and for certain state entities that continue to amass new debts to improve their performance.