(Rpeats Friday story)
* Euro zone primary surplus/deficits - tmsnrt.rs/2kwFMko
By Jeremy Gaunt
LONDON, Feb 17 There is a two-speed euro zone
when it comes to budget discipline according to Thomson Reuters
data - with Greece being forced into maintaining a large primary
surplus at one end and France being pretty much left to its own
devices at the other.
As the following graph shows - tmsnrt.rs/2kwFMko -
Greece's primary surplus - the budget leftover before debt
obligations - is set to run at 2.2 percent of GDP this year and
3.7 percent next year.
France, however, is expected to post a 1.1 percent primary
deficit this year and a bigger one of 1.3 percent in 2018. It is
one of only five countries - along with Latvia, Estonia, Spain
and Finland - due to run such a deficit in the next two years.
There is a big difference, of course. Greece is on its third
international bailout and has agreed to go for a primary surplus
next year and beyond of 3.5 percent in order to secure funds.
France has no such difficulties.
Greece also has a massive debt to GDP ratio, which is what
got it into trouble in the first place.
But Greek debt is set to creep down, albeit slowly. The
European Commission predicts it will be 170.6 percent of GDP in
2018 versus 179.7 percent in 2016.
France, however, has a rising debt to GDP ratio, and not a
particularly small one. The Commission figures show it at 97.0
percent in 2018 versus 96.4 percent in 2016.
Two speeds - and two directions.
(Graphic by Vincent Flasseur; Editing by Toby Chopra)