Friday, February 14, 2014

Greek Economy Contracts Less Than Expected

by Stelios Bouras

Wall Street Journal

February 14, 2014

Greece's economy contracted less than expected last year, data showed Friday, further boosting hopes of a return to growth in 2014 after six painful years of recession.

Data from the Hellenic Statistical Authority showed that Greece's gross domestic product shrank by an annual rate of 2.6% in the last quarter of 2013, slowing from a drop of 3% in the prior three-month period. It was the country's best performance since the 2010 first quarter.

The fourth-quarter data mean that Greece's economy contracted by an annual rate of 3.7% last year—beating a forecast 4% contraction by Greece and its international creditors.

Since entering recession in 2008, Greece's economy has shrunk by more than a quarter—made worse by waves of austerity measures imposed after 2010 by international creditors—while unemployment has reached a staggering 28% of the workforce. But various data have lately pointed to some signs of stabilization, suggesting that Greece's contraction is finally bottoming out.


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