Finance Ministry expects Q1 GDP contraction of less than 1.5 pct

The Greek economy shrank by less than 1.5 percent in the first quarter of this year, Greek Finance Ministry sources have told the media ahead of confirmation by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) later this week.

ELSTAT is due to announce its preliminary figures for gross domestic product on Thursday but the Finance Ministry has jumped the gun with sources saying they expect the data to show that the economy shrank by around 1.3 percent of GDP.

This would the 23rd consecutive quarter of recession but the government takes it as a sign that Greece is on course to see economic growth this year for the first time since the first half of 2008, boosted by an expected new record number of tourist arrivals.

This is because shrinkage of around 1.3 percent would be considerably down on the 6 percent contraction the Greek economy saw in the first quarter of 2013.

The government expects the Greek economy to grow by 0.6 percent this year.