By Sotiris Nikas
Data on the course of Greece’s economic output from 2000 to last year reflect the dramatic consequences of the recession and the fiscal adjustment. Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) figures show that Greece’s per capita gross domestic product came to 12,354 euros in 2013, returning to 2001 levels and recording a loss of 5,020 euros from five years earlier.
In 2008, the first year of the Greek recession and the year when the country’s GDP peaked in the period after 2000, the per capita rate had amounted to 17,374 euros.
The data released on Wednesday by ELSTAT pointed to GDP of 182.1 billion euros in nominal terms last year, down from 193.3 billion in 2012. The peak achieved in 2008 was at 233.3 billion euros, which means that in the five years that have elapsed the country’s economy has shrunk by 51.2 billion.
In the period from 2008 to 2013, households’ consumer spending dropped from 165.75 billion euros to 128.63 billion, state consumption declined by about 11 billion euros to reach 31.34 billion, investments shrank by 32.4 billion euros to reach just 23.6 billion, exports amounted to 53 billion euros from 56.2 billion in 2008 – having dropped to 52.7 billion in 2012 – and imports posted a major slump of 35.7 percent, falling to 57.8 billion euros from 90 billion in 2008.
Besides the comparison with 2008, it is worth noting the changes recorded in the economy from 2012 to 2013: ELSTAT figures showed that private consumption fell by 7.4 percent while public spending dropped 7.3 percent, investments gave up 10.5 percent, exports expanded by 0.5 percent and imports contracted by 6.8 percent.
While the signs of the recession are obvious, conditions are showing a moderate improvement from year to year and pressures are easing, as in 2012 there had been an 8.5 percent drop in private consumption compared with 2011, and investments had dropped by 21.2 percent. In contrast, exports had grown by 0.9 percent, which was a greater annual rise than that recorded last year.