June 2, 2017 / 10:26 AM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 1-Greek economy expands in first quarter, consumption and investments help

    * GDP expands 0.4 pct in Q1, flash -0.1 estimate revised up
    * Data shows investment, consumption main drivers

 (Adds economist comment, details)
    By George Georgiopoulos
    ATHENS, June 2 (Reuters) - Greece's economy expanded in the
first three months of 2017, its statistics service said on
Friday, upwardly revising a previous flash estimate in May that
showed a 0.1 percent quarterly contraction.
    Data showed the economy grew by 0.4 percent in
January-to-March compared to the final quarter of 2016 when
gross domestic product contracted by 1.1 percent.
    The seasonally adjusted data also showed that Greece's
economy grew at a year-on-year pace of 0.4 percent in the first
quarter, after contracting by 1.0 percent in the fourth quarter
of 2016, with May's flash -0.5 percent estimate also revised
upwards.
    "Τhe readings are better as we had more accurate estimates
in the time that has intervened after the flash projections,"
said a senior official at ELSTAT.
    The government, keen to wrap up a bailout review and get
more clarity on further debt relief from its official lenders,
has downwardly revised this year's growth projection to 1.8
percent from 2.7 percent previously.
    It expects the recovery to strengthen next year with gross
domestic product growing by 2.4 percent. The EU Commission has
also cut its economic growth forecast for Greece to 2.1 percent
growth this year from 2.7 percent previously.        
    A recovery will be key to bringing down an unemployment rate
of nearly 23 percent, the highest in the euro zone, and
attaining a projected primary budget surplus of 1.75 percent -
excluding debt servicing outlays - demanded by Greece's
creditors.
    The main drivers behind the rise in first-quarter economic
output were stronger consumption and gross capital formation,
offsetting a negative contribution from net exports.
    Consumption rose 0.4 percent compared to the fourth quarter,
with imports rising by 4.5 percent while exports declined 2.3
percent. Gross capital formation jumped 48.3 percent from the
previous quarter.
    "Based on this revision, the government baseline scenario of
1.8 percent full-year growth in 2017 looks pretty attainable,"
said National Bank economist Nikos Magginas.
    "The surprise was that consumption proved more resilient
than expected during a difficult quarter marked by uncertainty
over the bailout review talks."
    Had there been a positive contribution from net exports, we
would have seen growth of more than 1.0 percent in the first
three months, he said. 
**************************************************************
KEY FIGURES      Q1 2017   Q4 2016   Q3 2016  Q2 2016   Q1 2016
GDP (q/q, pct)     0.4      -1.1*     0.7*     0.4*      -1.0*
GDP (y/y, pct)     0.4      -1.0*     2.1*    -0.4       -0.8*
-------------------------------------------------------------
* revised
source: ELSTAT        

 (Writing by George Georgiopoulos, additional reporting by
Lefteris Papadimas; Editing by Toby Chopra)
  

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