Greek budget said to forecast economic rebound in 2017

TAGS: Economy, Finance

Greece has forecast 2.7 percent economic growth next year, its first rebound after seven years of crippling recession, as investment picks up and tourism surges, a government official familiar with the draft budget said on Thursday.

The recipient of three international bailouts, Greece’s economy has shrunk by a quarter since a debt crisis exploded in 2010, forcing it to adopt harsh austerity, throwing millions out of work and driving the jobless rate to a record 28 percent.

The 2017 budget is due to be tabled in parliament on Monday.

The economic growth forecast compares with a 0.3 percent contraction in 2016 anticipated by the lenders.

While Athens has managed to fix its twin imbalances – its primary budget and current account deficits – over the last six years through painful fiscal adjustment, economic output has been stagnating and unemployment remains high.

Under a 86 billion euros ($96 billion) bailout deal clinched in mid-2015, Greece must achieve a surplus, excluding debt servicing costs, of 0.5 percent this year and 1.75 percent in 2017.

The government official said the surplus for this year would exceed the surplus target, but that the budget draft would probably not include a specific figure for 2017.

The most indebted country in the euro zone would see its debt pile falling to 175.8 percent of output next year, compared to about 180 percent of gross domestic product this year. [Reuters]