September 4, 2019 / 10:14 AM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 1-Greek economic growth gains pace, boosted by net exports

    * GDP expands 0.8% in second quarter
    * Annual growth pace quickens to 1.9%
    * Net exports, government spending main drivers

 (Adds economist comment, details)
    By George Georgiopoulos
    ATHENS, Sept 4 (Reuters) - Greece's economy remained on the
path of recovery in April-to-June, with its pace of expansion
picking up from the first quarter thanks to a boost from net
exports and government spending.
    Gross domestic product expanded by 0.8% in the second
quarter compared with a 0.2% growth rate in the first three
months of the year, according to seasonally adjusted data
released on Wednesday by the statistics service ELSTAT.
    On an annual basis, economic growth accelerated to 1.9% from
a downwardly revised 1.1% clip in the previous quarter.
    "Second quarter GDP growth was broadly in line with market
consensus and in line with projections for a growth rate of 2.0%
or slightly higher for the year as a whole," said National bank
economist Nikos Magginas.
    Data showed that exports of goods and services, up 3.3%
compared to the first quarter, outpaced imports which fell 0.8%,
producing a positive contribution to domestic economic output.
    While government spending also boosted GDP in the second
quarter, household spending shrank 0.7% on an annual basis and
by 0.4% quarter-on-quarter.
    Weaker consumer spending was likely due to households
putting off planned expenditures until after the national
election that took place in July.
    "We will likely see a sharp rebound in consumer spending in
the third quarter, given that consumer confidence hit a 19-year
high in August," Magginas said.
    Greece's 180 billion euro economy grew 1.9% last year,
driven mainly by net exports, with private consumption also
providing a boost.
    Greece emerged from a decade of bailouts in August last year
and is now relying on financial markets to cover borrowing
needs. The government fully lifted remaining capital controls
earlier this month.
    Its economy remains way below the size it reached before the
crisis, when national economic output was around 242 billion
euros.
    The newly elected conservative government is keen on
accelerating the country's economic recovery through promised
tax relief and investment friendly policies.
    In its spring forecasts, the EU Commission projected the
economy would remain resilient and expand by an annual 2.2% this
year. The country's central bank sees growth remaining at last
year's pace, around 1.9%.
    
 KEY FIGURES      Q2 2019  Q1 2019  Q4 2018  Q3 2018  Q2 2018
 GDP (q/q, pct)     0.8      0.2     -0.1     1.0*     0.0*  
 GDP (y/y, pct)     1.9      1.1*     1.5     2.0*     1.5*  
 
* revised
source: ELSTAT        

 (Reporting by George Georgiopoulos and Angeliki Koutantou;
Editing by Alison Williams)
  
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