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.