Greek economy contracts by 8.2 pct in 2020: ELSTA

The Greek economy contracted by 8.2 percent on an annual basis in 2020, according to the first estimate the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) released on Friday.

“The Greek economy was severely shaken, but withstood the conditions of unprecedented health, social and economic difficulties,” commented Finance Minister Christos Staikouras on Friday in an e-mailed press statement.

The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) amounted to 168.5 billion euros (202.7 billion U.S. dollars), compared to 183.6 billion euros in 2019, ELSTAT said.

The 8.2 percent GDP contraction for 2020 is considerably lower than the official estimate of a 10.5 percent recession projected in the 2021 budget. The latest European Commission estimate had been a 10 percent contraction in Greece.

“The result is better than the estimates, thanks to the revision of the previous quarter and the relatively good picture in the fourth quarter,” Staikouras noted. “On a quarterly basis the Greek economy showed in the fourth quarter (Q4) probably the best performance in Europe,” he added, referring to the European Union.

In Q4 of last year, the Greek GDP decreased 7.9 percent year-on-year, but increased by 2.7 percent from the previous quarter.

The Greek economy showed a 1.6 percent annual increase in gross capital formation over Q4 2020, along with a 13.6 percent expansion in product exports. At the same time exports of services slumped 55.4 percent and final consumption eased 2.2 percent on a yearly basis.

“It is certain that recession in 2020 was deep, although it came close to the European average. In 2021 too, until today, we are going through a difficult year. However, we can be realistically optimistic, as with the help of science, we are building ever more rapidly a wall of protection through the vaccinations,” said the minister.

“Therefore, the social and economic life will revert to normality,” he stressed. (1 euro = 1.20 U.S. dollars)