Data from Greece΄s finance ministry showed the central government΄s budget–before taking into account debt payments–with a 691 million euro surplus last year, compared with a 3.46 billion euro deficit in 2012.
Taking into account monies owed by the European Union to Greece for public works, and which are expected to be paid in the first months of this year, Greece΄s primary surplus in 2013 was in line with the 812 million euros penciled into the country΄s latest budget, a finance ministry official said.
“The execution of the state budget confirms and supports our estimates for the year that has passed,” said Deputy Finance Minister Christos Staikouras. “Our
country, after many years and enormous sacrifices by Greek society, will achieve a primary surplus earlier than expectations.”
Since early 2010, Greece has received two massive bailouts from its euro-zone partners and the International Monetary Fund in exchange for fixing its deficit-ridden public finances. Under the existing bailout program, Greece was not expected to achieve a primary surplus until the end of 2014.
The better-than-expected outcome has strengthened Athens΄ hand in negotiations with its international budget inspectors–the EU, the European Central Bank and the IMF–who are expected to return to Greece in coming weeks to review the country΄s reform progress.
For the 12 months of the year, the government said state budget revenues had increased to 52.9 billion euros from 51.9 billion euros a year ago, while outlays had fallen to 58.3 billion euros from 67.6 billion euros.
The state budget only takes into account the operations of Greece΄s central government, and doesn΄t include general government accounts, which comprise local government, a portion of military spending as well as some social welfare spending.
The final figures for Greece΄s 2013 budget position are expected to be released by Eurostat, the EU΄statistics department, in April.
Source: capital