ECONOMY

GDP rise remains pert

Greece’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew at a faster pace in the third quarter than earlier this year, according to data due to be released by the National Statistics Service (NSS) today. The data shows that GDP grew at a pace of 4.3 percent, against 4.1 percent in the previous two quarters, on the back of continuing strong momentum in investment, consumption, building activity and exports. The development was rather unexpected and the government is now upbeat that it will soon be in a position to revise upward its 3.8 percent target for the whole of 2006. Even though the 2007 budget, which is being submitted to Parliament today, retains the 3.8 percent target for 2006, it is considered certain that the Finance Ministry will soon proceed to revise it. It is worth noting that both Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics service, and the Bank of Greece had forecast a 3.5 percent GDP growth. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projected a 3.7 percent in its latest six-monthly report. Overall, the Greek economy seems to be consolidating its dynamic profile, with one of the highest rates of growth in the EU, belying the gloomy forecasts of a serious slowdown after the 2004 Olympics which gave it a strong boost in the stage of preparations. The strong growth rate is no doubt largely due to the unusually good performance of the private sector, particularly in investment and exports, which are bolstered by the prevailing good economic climate elsewhere in Europe – Greece’s main trading partner.