Greece posts 711 mln euro primary budget surplus in Jan-May, beats revised target

Greece's central government posted a primary budget surplus of 711 million euros ($968 million) in the first five months of the year, compared to a deficit of 970 million euros in the same period in 2013, Deputy Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said on Thursday.

The figure topped a revised, interim January-May surplus target by about 500 million euros, Staikouras said. The previous interim target, as set out in Greece's 2014 budget plan, had been set at 946 million euros.

The central government excludes the budgets of social security organizations and local administrations. The primary surplus excludes interest payments to service the country's debt.

Unemployment steady

Meanwhile, Greece's jobless rate remained unchanged at 27.8 percent in the first three months of the year compared to the previous quarter, data from the country's statistics service showed on Thursday.

About 71 percent of Greece's 1.34 million jobless are long-term unemployed, meaning they have been out of work for at least 12 months, the figures showed.

Greece has already published monthly unemployment figures through March, which differ from quarterly data because they are based on different samples. Quarterly figures are not seasonally adjusted.

Hit hard by austerity policies, Greece's annual average unemployment rate reached 27.3 percent in 2013 from 24.2 percent in the previous year. [Reuters]