Thursday September 18, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
27o C
20o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Greek debt swells again as Samaras looks to creditors for relief

Greek state debt surged to the highest in the euro era last year, underscoring the urgency of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’s push to lower the cost of the government’s bailout loans.

The country’s debt pile reached 175.1 percent of gross domestic product in 2013, up from 157.2 percent a year earlier, the EU’s statistics office in Luxembourg said on Wednesday. For the eurozone as a whole, state debt rose to a record 92.6 percent of GDP from 90.7 percent.

“The surge in public indebtedness since Greece’s fiscal crisis erupted in 2009 is staggering,” said Nicholas Spiro, managing director of Spiro Sovereign Strategy in London. “The fact that, technically speaking, it’s still debatable whether Greece is solvent says much about the management of its crisis.”

While Greece has the highest debt-to-GDP ratio in the 18- nation single-currency bloc, Samaras may get some welcome news later on Wednesday, when the European Commission decides if his government posted a primary budget surplus in 2013.

Greece’s euro-area partners said in November 2012 that when the government in Athens registers a primary surplus, which excludes borrowing costs, they will “consider further measures and assistance” to help Greece meet the targets set out in its rescue-aid agreement, which foresees a debt-to-GDP ratio “substantially lower” than 110 percent in 2022.

Coalition government

Seeking to bolster a shaky two-party coalition government, Samaras is keen to obtain a political reward for his cost- cutting measures before European legislative elections next month. His government has already said it achieved a primary surplus of 2.9 billion euros ($4 billion) last year, a figure that must be confirmed by the commission.

While euro-area finance ministers could kick-start discussions on debt relief for Greece at their next meeting on May 5, Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who leads such gatherings, has said the matter will not be taken up until after the summer.

Greece’s headline deficit widened to 12.7 percent of GDP in 2013 from 8.9 percent in 2012, today’s data showed. This includes a one-time cost for recapitalization of the country’s banks. Without that added expense this year, the European Commission predicts the deficit will narrow to 2.2 percent of GDP in 2014.

“We expect by the year 2015 that we will have not simply primary surplus, but that we’re going to have a fiscal surplus,” Samaras said in an interview last week. “This means we will be able on our own to pay our debt, without borrowing at all. There are very few European countries that are doing this today.”

Budget goals

Greece went through the world’s biggest sovereign-debt restructuring and has so far received 240 billion euros in aid commitments. To receive payments, the country has faced a series of economic conditions including labor-market reforms and budget goals.

In recent weeks, Greece’s recovery has gained momentum. The government held its first bond sale in four years earlier this month and forecasts it will emerge from a six-year recession this year after six years of contraction.

Wednesday’s data also confirmed that other fragile euro-area economies are still struggling to control debt levels even as recovery across the currency region takes hold. Italy’s debt mountain increased and remained as the second highest in the euro area after Greece, going up to 132.6 percent of GDP in 2013 from 127 percent the previous year.

Debt crisis

Portugal, in third place, saw its debt rise to 129 percent of GDP from 124.1 percent, while in Ireland, next in line, debt rose to 123.7 percent from 117.4 percent. Both countries received international bailouts at the height of the euro crisis.

The data also show that some euro-area countries are struggling to reduce their budget deficits to with the EU’s 3 percent of GDP limit. France, the region’s second-biggest economy, posted a deficit of 4.3 percent, down from 4.9 percent. Spain recorded a deficit of 7.1 percent last year, narrowing from 10.6 percent the year before.

[Bloomberg]

 

ekathimerini.com , Wednesday April 23, 2014 (12:15)  
Very lucky punters set to be probed
London roadshow starts with record turnout
Banks set to request 6.1 bln under TLTRO
More efforts to cut the price of milk
Police report identifies officers with ties to Golden Dawn
A year after the killing of leftist rapper Pavlos Fyssas by a Golden Dawn supporter amid allegations of links between the neofascist party and the Hellenic Police, a report by the forces in...
Increasing number of mayors blocking contract reviews
The number of mayors refusing to comply with the governments demand that they submit the contracts of all municipal employees who had their fixed-term deals turned into open-ended agreement...
Inside News
SOCCER
Financial crisis forces Greek second division postponement
Greece's second soccer division Football League announced on Wednesday the postponement of the start of the season due to financial difficulties being faced by most clubs. "The board of dire...
SOCCER
Mitroglou rediscovers scoring touch after Fulham let-down
Costas Mitroglou banished the memories of his disappointing spell in England after breaking a 10-month goal drought as Olympiakos Piraeus secured a thrilling 3-2 Champions League win over At...
Inside Sports
COMMENTARY
Loud patriotism
I admit that whenever politicians drag religious faith and worn-out patriotism into discussions I button up. I feel the same way when I see bishops blatantly getting involved in politics. To...
EDITORIAL
In need of a second wind
Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and a few of his ministers have gone to great lengths to see Greece regain credibility in the eyes of its partners. Given that the state mechanism is not...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
RECENT NEWS
1. Very lucky punters set to be probed
2. London roadshow starts with record turnout
3. Banks set to request 6.1 bln under TLTRO
4. More efforts to cut the price of milk
5. Skiathos tops Greeks online summer holiday searches
6. IMF departure gets on the table
more news
Today
This Week
1. Loud patriotism
2. SYRIZA victory would spark a bank run, PM reportedly warns
3. Production of the new Pony to start by the end of the year, NAMCO says
4. Davutoglu calls for a two-state solution in Cyprus
5. Tsipras to meet with Pope Francis on Thursday
6. In need of a second wind
Today
This Week
1. Greece on standby
2. Avramopoulos appointed Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs
3. Central Athens traffic restrictions back in force on Monday
4. Greece at bottom of social justice scale among EU28
5. EU bank tests may miss trillion dollar risk, study finds
6. Lost in the fog
Find us ...
... on
Twitter
... on Facebook
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.