Greece extends primary surplus in 2018

Greece improved its public finances last year, reaching a surplus of 4.4 percent of economic output, the country’s Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) announced in a report sent to Eurostat.

In absolute figures, the primary surplus amounted to 8.149 billion euros (9.13 billion U.S. dollars) from 6.946 billion euros or 3.9 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017, according to the data posted on ELSTAT’s website.

It is above the initial government projections of 4.1 percent.

Greece’s budget performance in 2018 was better than expected, following some revenue-boosting measures by the government. Overall, the Greek GDP was 184.714 billion euros in 2018, from 180.218 billion in 2017.

ELSTAT also said Greece’s public debt rose to 181.1 percent of GDP in 2018 from 176.2 percent in 2017, the largest ratio in the euro zone.

According to the statistics service, the higher public debt figure in 2018 was temporary because of the disbursement of the last installment of the country’s third bailout program, which ended in August 2018.

The country ended its bailout era last summer, but remains under the supervision of the European Commission in order to ascertain whether the financial rules are being respected.