Sunday March 1, 2015 Search
Weather | Athens
11o C
6o 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)  
Schaeuble softens tone, says Greece needs time
Greece to prioritize IMF repayments but wants talks on ECB-held bonds, says Varoufakis
Greece seeks negotiations on ECB bond repayment
Piraeus plans are coming in next few weeks
Greeces lenders skeptical on new bills but focus on funding needs
European officials have expressed concern that the Greek government has not consulted with its partners over its plans to bring new legislation to Parliament this week but the greatest focus...
Lenders to be consulted over collective bargaining
Greece will consult with its lenders over changes to labor regulations that will reintroduce collective bargaining for Greek workers, Labor Minister Panos Skourletis has told Kathimerini. Th...
Inside News
BASKETBALL
Spanoulis leads Olympiakos to win over Malaga
A good second half was enough for Olympiakos to get the better of Unicaja Malaga (77-72) and score its seventh win in eight games at the second group stage of the Euroleague on Friday. Playi...
SOCCER
Ten-man Olympiakos couldnt overcome Dnipro
Olympiakos drew 2-2 with Dnipro from Ukraine at home on Thursday, playing almost the entire second half with a man down, to bow out of the Europa League, despite facing an opponent which on ...
Inside Sports
COMMENTARY
A unionist agenda
Maybe Greece will not experience a credit event, because it is in no ones interest, as Minister of State for Coordinating Government Operations Alekos Flambouraris recently assured. Maybe...
EDITORIAL
The beguiling limelight
Too much media exposure is never a good thing and there is no shortage of newcomers in politics who are beguiled by the limelight. What usually comes after this thrall of publicity is the in...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
RECENT NEWS
1. Schaeuble softens tone, says Greece needs time
2. Greece to prioritize IMF repayments but wants talks on ECB-held bonds, says Varoufakis
3. Greeces lenders skeptical on new bills but focus on funding needs
4. Lenders to be consulted over collective bargaining
5. Alleged accomplices of N17s Xeros caught in Athens
6. Hellas Gold and workers react to Greek govt decision on plan permit
more news
Today
This Week
1. Greece's lenders skeptical on new bills but focus on funding needs
2. Greece to prioritize IMF repayments but wants talks on ECB-held bonds, says Varoufakis
3. Schaeuble softens tone, says Greece 'needs time'
4. Lenders to be consulted over collective bargaining
5. Greece seeks negotiations on ECB bond repayment
6. Spain, Portugal sought to trip up govt, Tsipras says
Today
This Week
1. Time for Alexis Tsipras to keep his nerve
2. Greek bailout deal faces review by euro officials next week
3. Greece says eurozone deal won time as cash bled from banks
4. The ignorance of the West about the culture of Islam
5. A fierce battle looms
6. Spain said to lead push to hold Greece to terms as Podemos grows
Find us ...
... on
Twitter
... on Facebook
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright 2015, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.