Greece With First Budget Surplus in 65 Years
Greece has registered a surplus on its current account after half a decade of severe restrictions.
The 2013 balance is positive with EUR 1.244 B, compared to a deficit of EUR 4.615 B during the previous year and the alarming EUR 20.6 B for 2011, The Wall Streat Journal reports, citing data from the Greek Central Bank.
This is happening for the first time since statistics on current account balance were published in 1948.
A EUR 2.4 B decrease in trade deficit, as well as the surplus generated from transactions and services, mostly tourism are among the reasons for this result. Rising exports and shrunken imports are also part of the explanation.
Tourist industry is re-emerging as a leading sector of the Greek economy after years of crisis and austerity had put it to a standstill.
A record high number of tourists (about 17 M) have visited the country in 2013, compared to 16 M in 2012. This is partially due to a re-direction of visitors from the troubled Maghreb countries such as Egypt and Tunisia, which are considered more risky places to travel to after the beginning of the Arab spring.
Greece hopes to return to a 0.6% economic growth in 2014, after contracting by a quarter since the beginning of its recession in 2008.
Spending cuts made in return of bailout packages by the EU and the IMF are allegedly leading Greece out of the financial crisis, but have been a subject of broad national and European debates about the future recovery of the debt-ridden country.