ECONOMY

Budget deficit keeps rising

Greece will revise higher its 2009 budget deficit, admitted Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantiniou yesterday. Final data sent by the National Statistical Service (NSS) to authorities in Brussels indicate that budget deficits between 2007-2009 will be higher than announced. Sources said that last year’s deficit is likely to be in the vicinity of 13 to 13.5 percent of GDP, up from 12.7 percent. «We are not talking about large changes. We are not even talking about a change reaching 1 percent of GDP,» said Papaconstantinou. The upward revision to last year’s figures is the result of a deeper-than-expected recession in 2009 and an overestimated surplus in pension fund and hospital accounts that shape the final budget deficit figure. Despite the latest revision to Greece’s budget data, the country’s deficit reduction goals for 2010 will remain as announced, added the minister. Final fiscal figures for the three-year period will be announced by Eurostat in the last 10 days of April.