BUSINESS

Greece posts budget surplus in 2013 at central government level

Greece's central government posted a primary budget surplus of 700 million euros last year and will also post a surplus at the more closely-watched general government level, making it eligible for further debt relief, Deputy Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said on Tuesday.

Staikouras said Tuesday that the core government's primary surplus — that is, not counting the cost of paying interest on existing debt — was 691 million euros ($956 million).

He said the primary surplus for overall government spending is expected to be 812 million euros ($1.1 billion). The official figure will be released in about one month.

Greece has been promised it can seek more debt relief from its euro zone partners and the International Monetary Fund that have bailed out the country, after it posts a primary surplus for a full year.

The lenders track the general government surplus - which includes local government budgets and pension funds - rather than the central government data released on Tuesday, but that data indicates Greece is on track to meet the wider target.

Greece is aiming at a 2013 primary budget surplus of about 812 million euros or 0.4 percent of gross domestic product at the general government level.

Last year's central government surplus includes bond profit returns of 2 billion euros from eurozone central banks to Athens, under the terms of its international bailout. [Reuters/AP]

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