BUSINESS

Gov’t believes contraction in Q1 may be as little as 1 pct

By Sotiris Nikas

The government is expecting first-quarter data to show Greece’s economic contraction at just 1 percent, against 6 percent in the same period last year.

The Finance Ministry is expecting the official announcement from the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) on the course of the country’s gross domestic product on Thursday. Ministry agencies believe the containment of the recession will be dramatic, with sources saying it will be no surprise if it ranges between 0 and 1 percent.

It is clear that the first quarter of the year is still early to expect a positive GDP, but this may well happen in the current quarter, with ministry officials saying it will depend on three factors: to what extent consumption is boosted by the distribution of the so-called social dividend, the level of expired state debts that are repaid, and tourism growth, since, if forecasts prove correct, GDP may start growing from the April-June quarter.

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