ECONOMY

Growth rate slows in Q3 but stays in line with 2002 target

The government said yesterday economic growth slowed in the third quarter on an annual basis but still had enough momentum to carry through to the government’s 3.8 percent annual target for the year. The National Statistics Service (NSS) said GDP, EU-harmonized, grew by 3.4 percent in the third quarter of 2002 after an expansion rate of 4.0 percent in the second quarter. «It seems the 3.8 percent growth target for 2002 is absolutely achievable,» the NSS said in a statement. The NSS said average GDP growth in the 12 months to end-September 2002 was 3.9 percent. Investments, which grew by 8.6 percent in the third quarter, slowing from the 9.8 percent expansion recorded in the second quarter, added 1.6 percent to general growth, the NSS said. Spending related to the Athens 2004 Olympics and flows from European Union structural funds helped keep domestic growth rates well ahead of eurozone peers, but a slowdown in global growth weighed on national accounts, economists said. «We note a drop in exports, which is mostly due to global economic conditions, lower growth in the EU, central European and Balkan countries,» said economist Platon Monokroussos at EFG Eurobank. «The stronger euro is also hurting the competitiveness of Greek products,» he said. Export growth in the third quarter slowed to 1.7 percent from 2.6 percent in the previous quarter, while imports also decelerated year-on-year to 2.8 percent from 3.7 percent. (Reuters)