Greece’s budget deficit narrowed 42% in the first 10 months of the year on slightly higher revenues despite the country’s deepening recession, Deputy Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said Saturday.
The shortfall for the January to October period narrowed to €12.3 billion from €21.1 billion in the same period last year as revenues rose 1.4%, the minister said.
“The picture is encouraging. Reasonable expectations are being created for the achievement of a better result. We are a step closer to achieving the national target: Achieving a primary surplus in 2013,” Mr. Staikouras said in a statement.
Greece is aiming for a primary budget surplus of 0.4% of annual economic output next year, its first in a decade, according to a 2013 draft budget currently being debated in parliament. Next year’s primary budget target, however, was recently revised lower by the Greek government from a forecast 1.1% surplus as austerity measures weigh on the economy.
The country’s annual economic output is expected to contract by 4.5% next year, in its sixth year of recession, after shrinking by a forecast 6.5% in 2012.
The minister also said the primary budget deficit for the first 10 months of 2012 was slashed by 80% to €1.2 billion from €5.9 billion last year. Primary spending was also reduced by 8.5%, he added.
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