‘No growth until 2012’

Research group KEPE expects the Greek economy to shrink at an annual clip of 3.5 percent this year, predicting a deeper recession than that forecast by the Finance Ministry. The Finance Ministry sees the 240-billion-euro economy contracting by 3 percent in 2011, with a return to growth slated for the second half of the year. KEPE, the Center of Planning and Economic Research, said yesterday that the largest contraction in 2011 is seen in the first quarter of the year, with the economy shrinking by just over 5 percent on a quarterly basis. «During the remaining quarters of 2011, real gross domestic product will continue to decrease but the rate will be progressively smaller,» it said in a statement. KEPE also points to a longer-than-expected contraction period than the government, predicting a recession until 2012.