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Greece’s GDP Expands, End of Bailout Nears

Greece’s economy continued to expand in the first quarter of the year, according to figures published Monday, as the country moves toward exiting its eight-year long bailout regime.

Gross domestic product increased 0.8% in the January-to-March period from the previous quarter, data from Greece’s statistics service Elstat showed.

The rise was mainly due to an increase in exports, as investments remained in negative territory and consumer spending grew only marginally.

Greece’s economy returned to growth last year with 1.4% GDP expansion after spending most of the last decade in depression. The economy is seen expanding 2.3% this year, according to a European Commission estimate.

Since entering recession in 2008, Greek GDP has shrunk by more than a quarter amid austerity measures imposed by international creditors after 2010, while unemployment has reached nearly 28%.

The country is still in a bailout program–the third in a row–which ends in August 2018. Creditors, however, want to keep a tight control on the country’s post-bailout budget for a number of years and prevent Athens from backtracking on reforms.

But less than three months before the end of the program, Eurozone governments led by Germany disagree with the International Monetary Fund on the amount of bailout funds that will be restructured and how automatic and unconditional the debt relief offered to Greece will be.

The two sides failed to resolve their differences during a meeting on the sidelines of the G7 meeting in Canada over the weekend, putting in doubt the IMF’s participation in the program.
Source: Dow Jones

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