ECONOMY

Current account deficit drops

Greece’s current account deficit amounted to 2.4 billion euros in the first quarter of the year, Eurostat figures showed on Thursday, which is 100 million euros more than the previous three months. Yet on a yearly basis the current account deficit has shown a 50 percent fall.

In the last five quarters Greece has only once managed to record a current account surplus, added Eurostat, referring to Q3 of 2012.

Services, in particular, showed a surplus of 1.5 billion euros in the first three months of 2013, exactly the same as in Q1 of 2012. Compared with the previous quarter the service surplus has shown a 600 million-euro decline.

Daniel Gros, the head of the Center of European Policy Studies (CEPS) in Brussels, told Kathimerini while commenting on the data that we should not be fooled by the increase in the current account deficit in the first quarter of 2013.

“Current accounts in Greece show strong seasonal fluctuations, with the first quarter of the year being always worse than the last quarter of the year before. By comparing the data of the Bank of Greece for the first four months of each year since 2011 one sees a constant improvement. It is not particularly strong, but it does constitute an improvement,” said Gros.

The German economist also estimated that Greece will probably not break into positive territory this year, but this may happen in 2014, as available data indicates. “My greatest concern is that the improvement in the current account balance does not come from the increase of exports; exports of certain commodities (not including fuel to ships) has increased, but not so rapidly, and has started from a low level. In services there is a drop in exports, which is a serious problem for Greece, as there is not other European country showing a decline.”