Greece posts January-July surplus of 1.76 billion euros


The first seven months of the year went unexpectedly well for state finances and an expected primary shortfall of 803 million euros turned into a surplus of 1.76 billion, boosting the government’s belief that it can achieve the surplus target agreed with the creditors, equal to 3.5 percent of gross domestic product.

Net revenue rose 8.1 percent to 28.59 billion euros, 2.13 billion more than planned.

The results were helped by a one-off item, the extension of the management of the Athens International Airport which brought almost 1.4 billion to state coffers, including 271.6 million in value-added tax.

The previous government had agreed to a much smaller amount for the extension, but was pressured by the European Union into reopening talks.

The airport deal extension alone accounted for well over 40 percent of VAT  collected by the government (662 million), but total VAT revenue rose just 8 percent from last year.

Revenue from taxing properties rose 11.8 percent, to just over 600 million, while another 644 million came from other EU central banks returning the profits they had made from the sale of Greece bonds.