FINANCE

Budget data off target in January

Budget data off target in January

The state budget has apparently missed its targets this month, bringing a sudden end to the positive course last year had set and reintroducing concerns over how the planned containment of the primary deficit to 1.4% of gross domestic product in 2022 will be attained.

Although January data are provisional, they clearly point to a reduction in revenues, as the Omicron variant froze economic activity before the Elpis snowstorm dealt the month’s biggest blow. Expenditure has also been burdened with an additional sum of 400 million euros for contract suspensions and sector support, although that amount is going to be spread across the following months.

Finance Ministry officials hope there will be no further deterioration and that February will be a better month. Nevertheless, Minister Christos Staikouras will not rule out that, depending on the course of the pandemic, there will be additional support, especially a further haircut in the dues from the Deposit To Be Returned state loans.

He added that the 1.4% target is not an obligation to the European Union, even if this is important for maintaining the confidence of markets.