ECONOMY

Greece posts primary budget surplus in Jan-Sept, on track to hit target

Greece’s central government had a primary budget surplus of 2.6 billion euros ($3.51 billion) between January and September, the country’s deputy finance minister Christos Staikouras said on Thursday.

Athens is aiming to achieve a primary budget surplus, excluding debt servicing costs, this year which will allow it to seek further debt relief from its international lenders.

Excluding one-off revenues from the European Central Bank, the nine-month surplus stood at 1.1 billion euros, the minister said.

Greece expects to end the year with a primary surplus of 0.2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) at general government level at the end of the year, based on its draft 2014 budget released earlier this week.

Thursday’s figures provide an approximate indication of how the country’s finances are shaping up. At central government level, they are not directly comparable with bailout targets as they exclude budgets of local government and pension funds.

The budget figures are also on a cash basis, whereas those against which Greece’s performance is judged will be based on an accrual (ESA) basis, which classifies revenues and expenses under a different methodology. [Reuters]