GDP seen slowing to 3.1 percent

Greece’s economic growth is expected to slow this year to an annual rate of 3.1 percent, from 4 percent in 2007, due to a drop-off in private consumption and declining corporate investment, according to the European Commission. The European Union’s executive arm said in its autumn forecasts made public yesterday that deteriorating confidence and financial uncertainty are hurting consumption, with investment expected to worsen on the back of a weakening housing sector. «In spite of this, economic activity is estimated to continue to grow at well above the EU average,» it said in a statement. The EU’s 27-nation bloc is estimated to grow at a rate of 1.4 percent this year, with a slowdown to 0.2 percent seen for next year. Greece’s 246-billion-euro economy is tipped to grow by 2.5 percent next year. Regarding government finances, the overall budgetary position among European Union member states is expected to deteriorate with the rescue packages possibly raising debt, the Commission said. Greece is seen reporting a budget deficit of 2.5 percent of GDP this year, versus an estimated 3.5 percent in 2007.