Primary surplus at start of year

The economic contraction proved to be less than originally feared in the last quarter of 2012 and there was a primary surplus in the first two months of this year, but consumption, exports, imports and investment continued to decline.

Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) data issued on Monday for the October-December period showed the country’s gross domestic product sliding 5.7 percent (against an anticipated 6 percent), for a total rate of 6.37 percent over 2012.

Capital investment shrank by 10.3 percent year-on-year, consumption fell 9 percent, exports declined by 4.8 percent and imports dropped 8.1 percent, ELSTAT announced.

This year’s budget showed a primary surplus of 463 million euros in January and February against a target for a primary deficit of 1.3 billion euros, thanks to the drastic 766-million-euro cut in expenditure.

The drop in consumption, however, meant value-added tax revenues were 213 million euros off target.