Lagarde hails ‘clear achievements,’ says Greek budget could be back in surplus by end of 2013

Greece’s budget could be back in surplus by the end of the year, IMF chief Christine Lagarde said in an interview with CNBC.

“When I look at Greece, I’m very impressed by the efforts that have been undertaken to restore the fiscal situation of the country. It may well be that by the end of 2013, Greece will be in primary surplus, which is an amazing achievement,” Lagarde told the American business news channel, adding however that the debt-wracked country still has to catch up with a series of structural reforms demanded by foreign lenders.

“A lot needs to be done, whether you’re talking about tax reform, tax authority’s reform, the continuation of the privatization program… the management of the public service,” Lagarde said.

“All of that is still on the table and work in progress that needs to be continued. But there have been clear achievements,” she added.

Eurozone officials on Monday approved the disbursement of 6.8 billion euros in rescue funding for Greece – aid that is to be released in tranches and subject to Athens honoring specific pledges – after the troika of international creditors concluded that the country’s economic program was broadly on track though lagging in certain areas.

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