With Prime Minister Antonis Samaras saying that Greece’s crushing economic crisis is beginning to wind down and will turn around next year with a return to the markets, economic output fell by 5.3 percent in the first quarter of 2013, compared to a year earlier, according to figures published by the Hellenic Statistical Authority ELSTAT.
The Greek economy, which has been in recession since 2008, is expected to shrink by about 4.5 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GPD) by the end of the year. In the last quarter of 2012 it shrank 5.7 percent as relentless austerity measures keep taking a toll, with Greeks slowing spending almost to a standstill and big pay cuts, tax hikes and slashed pensions leading to smaller-than-expected revenues.
Greece’s first quarter contraction was the 19th consecutive quarter of recession and the largest shrinkage in the European Union as the country is stuck in a sixth year of a deep recession.
In data published by the European Commission’s statistical agency (Eurostat) on May 15, GDP was found to have fallen by an average of 0.2 percent in the euro area and by 0.1 percent in the whole of the EU. In the fourth quarter of 2012, growth rates were -0.6% and -0.5% respectively.