Greece posts first annual account surplus since 1948

Athens, Feb 19: Greece posted an annual account surplus for the first time since 1948, a positive sign that the ailing economy is on the way to exiting a four-year-long debt crisis, Xinhua reported Wednesday.

The account surplus of 1.2 billion euros for 2013 compared to a 4.6 billion euro deficit in 2012 was attributed to the reduction of the trade deficit, in addition to an increase in the services balance from revenues from the tourism industry, according to a Bank of Greece (BoG) report released Wednesday.

The trade deficit was reduced thanks to a reduction in import expenses due to austerity and recession and an increase in revenues from exports, according to the report. The services surplus is attributed to a 14.9 percent year-on-year increase in receipts from tourism spending.

BoG and Greece’s finance ministry hailed the development as a confirmation that the country is on the right path tackling key causes of the current crisis — the current account and budget deficits.

Another recent promising estimate shows that recession in 2013 was lower than initially expected (3.5 percent instead of 4 percent).

Government officials and financial analysts in Athens said that after such positive figures, Greece could attract more investments and bargain further debt relief measures from international creditors to boost its recovery.

IANS