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Greece Posts Primary Budget Surplus

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ATHENS--Greece recorded a primary surplus in the first 11 months of the year, Deputy Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said Wednesday, showing the governments budget cutting efforts are starting to pay off.

"The general government primary balance, without interest spend, in the first 11 months of 2012 showed a surplus of 2.3 billion euros ($3.0 billion), against a deficit of EUR3.6 billion in the comparative period of 2011," a statement from the finance ministry said.

"This development in the implementation of the budget indicates that the dedicated fiscal, adaptation and discipline efforts are paying off, setting the conditions for the gradual restart of the economy," it added.

Greece is aiming for a primary budget surplus--before taking into account interest payments on the national debt--of 0.4% of annual economic output next year, its first in a decade.

The bailed-out country lobbied and secured two more years to meet a primary-surplus target of 4.5% of economic output in 2016 instead of 2014. Euro-zone finance ministers reached a political agreement to allow this last November, given Greeces dramatically deeper than expected economic contraction under its bailout program.

Data from the Finance Ministry also showed that government arrears which have been gradually rising and reached a peak of EUR8.7 billion in the January-October period, fell slightly for the first time to EUR8.56 billion in the January-November period.

Write to Nektaria Stamouli at nektaria.stamouli@dowjones.com

 

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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 02, 2013 05:55 ET (10:55 GMT)

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