Tuesday Jul 22, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
29o C
22o 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)  
BoG rejects single bad bank
PPC rate hikes to apply as of this Friday
Fage to increase strained yogurt production at its New York plant
Crete is most the popular Greek island
Piraeus prosecutor investigating use of funds for building renovation
A Piraeus prosecutor has launched an investigation into the alleged misappropriation of state funding by the Piraeus Society, one of Greece's oldest sports clubs, for the renovation of its h...
Greeks getting better at recycling, though still Europe´s laggards
Greeks are getting better at sorting their trash and recycling, a recent study by environmental group WWF Greece has found, though they are still Europe's laggards. In 2007, only 58 percent ...
Inside News
TRACK & FIELD
Pole vault record on same day as three doping cases
Greek track and field had a mixed weekend, as on the same day as Katerina Stefanidi matched the national record in pole vault as well as the leading result in Europe so far this season, thre...
SOCCER
Standard Liege on Panathinaikos’s way
The draw for the third qualifying round of the Champions League on Friday has put Belgian league runner-up Standard Liege on Panathinaikos’s way to the competition’s play-offs, meaning the G...
Inside Sports
COMMENTARY
Unequal after death
The dead are dead and the slain are slain, whether they are Malaysian, Dutch, Palestinian or Israeli, whether they are the innocent victims of a civilian plane that is shot down (we still do...
EDITORIAL
Chinese investment
The relationship between Greece and China has become one of major strategic importance. Beijing threw its support behind Athens during a period when the country was going through particularl...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. Piraeus prosecutor investigating use of funds for building renovation
2. Greeks getting better at recycling, though still Europe´s laggards
3. Ministers asked to sign off on prior actions so 1-bln-euro tranche can be secured
4. Athens seeks EU aid for migration
5. SYRIZA MEP to raise German war ‘debts’ at Euro Parliament
6. Girl, 9, in serious condition after being hit by car in Crete
more news
Today
This Week
1. Unequal after death
2. Chinese investment
3. Greeks getting better at recycling, though still Europe's laggards
4. Piraeus prosecutor investigating use of funds for building renovation
5. Climber dies in Mount Olympus fall
6. Retail chief unimpressed by results of Sunday opening
Today
This Week
1. China and Greece agree to further cooperation in transportation, infrastructure
2. Ex-Credit Suisse banker taps lesson for Greek rebound
3. Pay-TV booms as cash-strapped Greeks shun depressing news shows
4. The cost of excellence
5. Greece seen in third bailout as bonds not enough, economists say
6. Summer storms cause problems in Thessaloniki, spread across the country
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.