ECONOMY

Grexit ‘less likely,’ shows Reuters poll

A Reuters survey released on Thursday pointed to a reduced likelihood of depression-mired Greece exiting the eurozone soon.

There was strong consensus that Greece will remain in the eurozone over the next 12 months, with 45 out of 64 economists in agreement — a stronger majority than the 35 of 64 in June?s poll.

?We would expect the eurozone to strive to keep Greece in the euro as long as it proceeds with reforms. However, there is a tail risk of an uncontrolled exit, in the case official funding is cut,? said Marcus Sonntag, economist at Merrill Lynch.

Still, the poll showed Greece faces vast challenges in

escaping its depression, as analysts downgraded their GDP outlook for the fifth time in a row.

The economy will shrink around 6.6 percent this year and then 2 percent next year, much worse than June?s poll which pencilled in declines of 5.8 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively.

Economists also see slow progress on Greece?s budget deficit. It will shrink from last year?s 9.3 percent to 8 percent this year, compared with its target of 7.3 percent, and just 6.8 percent in 2013. That would put Athens well off-track from its aim of getting the deficit below 3 percent by the end of 2014 from 9.3 percent. [Reuters]