Greek economy to bottom out in 2014 but small contraction possible, IOBE says

Greece's economy is expected to bottom out in 2014 after a six-year recession, but national output may still suffer a small contraction, Greek think tank IOBE said on Thursday taking a less optimistic view than the government and its international lenders.

Athens projects the 183 billion euro economy, which has shrunk by almost a quarter during the protracted slump, will pull out of recession and grow by 0.6 percent this year.

"While a point of balance has been achieved without stronger investment and implementation of structural reforms, this could prove fragile at a fiscal and political level," IOBE said in its quarterly report without providing detailed estimates.

The Athens-based think tank projected the country's unemployment rate would drop to 26 percent this year from an estimated 27.3 percent in 2013, helped by a rise in exports and stronger investment activity. [Reuters]