Budget deficit swells to 7.3 bln euros

The country?s budget deficit expanded to 7.3 billion euros in the year?s first three months from 4.8 billion in the same period of 2011, the Finance Ministry said on Friday.

The primary deficit was 333 million euros, compared with an initial figure of 365 million euros announced on April 11 and to a target of 1.4 billion euros for the period, the ministry said in its statement.

Net revenues rose to 12.8 billion euros from 11.7 billion a year earlier, while spending rose to 20.1 billion euros from 16.5 billion, according to the statement.

Also on Friday the Manpower Organization stated that the number of registered unemployed people came to 785,203 in March and that those receiving unemployment benefits grew by 6.82 percent from February to 302,331 people. As a result more than 19,300 people were added to the benefits list. There was also a decline in paid employment in March by 7,564 jobs.

Greeks account for 91.3 percent of the registered unemployed, with European Union citizens making up 1.91 percent and third-country citizens 6.79 percent.