Greece’s GDP rises 5.5 pct in first half

Greece’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), harmonized under the European System of Accounts, rose at a 5.5-percent pace in the first half of the year, the National Statistics Service (ESYE) announced yesterday. Despite the global slowdown, Greece’s economy is showing remarkable stamina, and is growing at rapid rates, Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said after revealing the figures at a news conference. Growth slowed down considerably in the second quarter, to 4.9 percent, from 6.1 percent in the first quarter. Growth in the second quarter of 2000 was 4.8 percent. GDP grew 4.3 percent in 2000 to 32.058 trillion drachmas, the greatest growth since the 1970s and the second highest rate in the European Union behind Ireland.. Second-quarter GDP was 8.357 trillion drachmas (24.5 billion euros), up 0.7 percent from the previous three-month period. Greece trimmed its 2001 growth estimate to 4.6 percent in July, revising earlier targets of 5 percent in the face of a global slowdown. Papantoniou, however, has predicted that growth will pick up in coming years, exceeding 5 percent in 2004. NSS said investment spending in the second quarter rose 11.6 percent year-on-year, up from 11.3 percent in the second quarter of 2000, contributing to an increase in aggregate demand. Second-quarter exports grew 8.7 percent year-on-year to 1.923 trillion drachmas, with imports rising 7.3 percent to 2.731 trillion, showing a rising share of domestic products in final demand.

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