Bloomberg News

Greece’s First-Quarter Budget Deficit Narrows 81%, Beats Target

April 10, 2013

Greece’s budget deficit narrowed 81 percent in the first 3 months of 2013, beating a target set for the period as the country cut spending.

The budget gap, which excludes outlays by state-controlled enterprises, narrowed to 1.4 billion euros ($1.8 billion) from 7.3 billion euros in the same period a year earlier, preliminary figures released by the Athens-based Finance Ministry showed today. The government target for the period was a deficit of 4.2 billion euros.

“Although it is early to draw a conclusion on the full year’s fiscal performance, we point out that budget execution outperformance has widened by 1 billion euros month-on-month,” Manos Giakoumis, research director for Euroxx Securities SA in Athens, said in an e-mailed note today. This provides “a safety cushion for the fiscal adjustment efforts in the next three quarters.”

Greece’s government is meeting with the so-called troika of European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund to complete a review of the country’s economic program, which is linked to the continued flow of funds under two bailouts. The economy, in its sixth year of recession, may shrink 4.5 percent this year, according to forecasts in Greece’s 2013 budget.

The primary surplus, which excludes debt-service costs, was 508 million euros compared with a goal of a deficit of 2.3 billion euros. Net revenue fell 3.8 percent to 12.3 billion euros in the January to March period, compared with revenue of 12.8 billion euros in the same period last year. A target of 11.4 billion euros was set for the period, the ministry said. Spending dropped to 13.7 billion euros from 20.1 billion euros, beating a target of 15.5 billion euros.

To contact the reporters on this story: Eleni Chrepa in Athens at echrepa@bloomberg.net; Natalie Weeks in Athens at nweeks2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jerrold Colten at jcolten@bloomberg.net


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