Greece beats budget surplus target for 1st half of 2017

Greece beats budget surplus target for 1st half of 2017

Greece's central government attained a primary budget surplus of 1.93 billion euros ($2.20 billion) in the first half of the year, beating its target by 1.5 billion euros thanks to lower spending, finance ministry data showed on Friday.

The central government surplus excludes the budgets of social security organisations and local administration. It is different from the figure monitored by Greece's EU/IMF lenders, but indicates the state of the country's finances.

The government's target was for a primary budget surplus – which excludes debt-servicing costs – of 431 million euros for the first six months of the year.

Net tax revenue came in at 21.3 billion euros, 73 million euros above target, while spending reached 22.9 billion euros, below a target of 24 billion euros.

The government is aiming for a general government primary budget surplus of 1.9 percent of GDP this year, based on its medium term fiscal strategy plan. The bailout target is for a primary surplus of 1.75 percent of GDP.

It overshot its bailout target last year after achieving a general government primary budget surplus of 4.2 percent of GDP.

The EU commission said on Wednesday that Greece's fiscal position has improved and the European Union should end disciplinary procedures against it over its excessive deficit, paving the way for the country to return to international bond markets. [Reuters]

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