With the government for a glimmer of a glimpse of a hope for the start of a recovery next year, the Greek economy shrank by 4.6 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the second quarter of the year as it had for every quarter of the previous five years.
The results came from the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) and followed a shrinkage of 5.6 percent in the quarter before that, showing how deep and long lasting the country’s recession is.
Last week, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras predicted the overall contraction for the year would be 4 percent but that he expects growth next year although he didn’t say how.
The government pointed to another statistic it said was more optimistic. Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said a primary budget surplus of 2.6 billion euros, or 1.4 percent of GDP, was achieved in the first seven months of 2013 against a target for a primary deficit of 3.1 billion euros.
That, however, doesn’t include interest payments and the budgets of local governments and social security funds which would have pushed the numbers into the red if counted.