IMF says growth in Greece won’t meet official estimates

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The International Monetary Fund yesterday forecast that economic growth in Greece this year will fall short of government estimates and urged authorities to tackle the nation’s high unemployment rate. In its annual review of the Greek economy, the Washington-based lender forecast economic growth of 3 percent this year, down from a 4-percent expansion enjoyed in 2001 and below the government’s assumption in its budget for 3.8-percent growth. «The near-term outlook is subject to a heightened degree of uncertainty, but growth prospects remain considerably more favorable than in most partner countries,» the IMF said in its latest look at the European nation’s economy. The lender also forecast that unemployment would remain unchanged at 10.3 percent in 2002, compared to the IMF’s estimated level seen for last year. Noting that joblessness in Greece was second only to Spain within the European Union, the IMF urged that action be taken. The statistics also showed that 47.9 percent of the unemployed or 208,300 were newcomers to the workforce, down by 6.3 percent. Of this figure, 47,944 were housewives seeking a job for the first time, indicating families hoping to boost their incomes.

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