Greek economy grows at 1.9 pct in 2018, misses target: provisional data

Source: Xinhua| 2019-03-08 00:31:18|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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ATHENS, March 7 (Xinhua) -- Greece's economy grew by 1.9 percent year on year in 2018, missing the government's full-year target of 2.5 percent, showed the provisional data released by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) on Thursday.

The government's forecast for the growth in the 2018 budget was 2.5 percent, but the European Commission surveillance report in last November put Greek growth at 2 percent for 2018.

Greece's economy contracted marginally in the last quarter of 2018 on a quarterly basis.

The figures showed a 0.1 percent contraction of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the October-December period compared to the previous quarter, but a 1.6 percent expansion from the same period in 2017.

This was the first three-month period in which Greece recorded a quarterly contraction after nine consecutive quarters of expansion.

ELSTAT attributed the quarterly contraction of the GDP to the 0.2 percent shrinking in consumer expenditure from the third quarter of the year, on a seasonally adjusted basis, and to the decrease of the gross fixed capital formation by 3.6 percent from Q3.

Other data released on Thursday showed unemployment in December fell to 18.0 percent from 18.3 percent in November, the lowest reading since July 2011 but still the highest in the eurozone.

"Tourism is not enough by itself to pull the Greek economy's cart out of the mud. We need more factors to help the economy grow fast enough," commented Dimitris Kenourgios, Associate Professor of Economics in the University of Athens.

"Investments do not grow, exports have suffered and the Public Investments Program is lagging," Kainourgios said to Xinhua.

GDP amounted to 190.8 billion euros (215.6 billion U.S. dollars) in 2018, up from 187.2 billion euros in 2017.

For 2019 the European Commission projects growth to reach 2.2 percent, while the 2019 national budget has anticipated a 2.5 percent economic expansion in Greece.

Greece lost about a quarter of its GDP in the years from 2009 to 2017 due to the financial crisis that forced it to seek three bailouts from the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund. (1 euro = 1.13 U.S. dollars)