January 14, 2019 / 2:18 PM / 6 months ago

Greek 2018 government budget primary surplus below target

FILE PHOTO: A Greek national flag flies atop the Athens Academy next to the statues of ancient goddess Athena (L) and Greek philosopher Plato in Athens, Greece, August 20, 2018. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece’s central government achieved a primary budget surplus of 3.162 billion euros ($3.62 billion) in 2018, though below target due to lower revenues, finance ministry data showed on Monday.

The government was targeting a primary budget surplus — which excludes debt-servicing costs — of 3.604 billion euros for the January-to-December period.

The surplus underperformed the target by 443 million euros.

The central government surplus excludes the budgets of social security funds and local administration. It differs from the figure monitored by Greece’s foreign lenders but does indicate the state of the country’s finances.

Net tax revenue came in at 53.6 billion euros - 1.56 billion euros below target. Spending reached 55.99 billion euros - 1.08 billion euros below target.

The government projects a primary budget surplus of 4.0 percent of economic output in 2018 and 3.6 percent this year, according to its 2019 budget.

The post-bailout target set by Greece’s lenders is for a primary surplus of 3.5 percent of GDP.

Reporting by Lefteris Papadimas; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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