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Greek economy expands 2.3% in first quarter, shows resilience

Greece’s economy expanded in January-to-March at a faster pace compared to last year’s fourth quarter but its growth rate decelerated on an annual basis, the country’s statistics service (ELSTAT) said on Tuesday.

Seasonally adjusted data showed gross domestic product grew 2.3% from an upwardly revised 0.8% growth rate in the fourth quarter of 2021.

The data also showed the economy expanded at an annual 7.0% percent clip in the first quarter, slowing from an upwardly revised 8.1% growth pace in the previous quarter.

“The economy showed resilience with growth accelerating on a quarterly basis on the back of strong domestic consumption and investments,” said Nikos Magginas, chief economist at National Bank.

He said strength in consumer spending, which was up 11.6% year-on-year in the first quarter, coupled with a 12.7% increase in investments offset a drag from net exports.

Last year the economy’s overall performance topped budget projections for a 6.9% rebound as domestic demand stayed strong. The economy shrank 9.0% in 2020, experiencing the second-biggest recession in the euro zone.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) sees Greece’s economy expanding by 3.5% this year due to higher energy prices and the Ukraine crisis. In April the fund cut a previous 5.4% growth forecast.

Greek think tank IOBE expects the economy to grow by 2.5-3.0% this year if the war in Ukraine does not end before the summer, it said in April.

The government projects growth of 3.1% this year, picking up to 4.8% in 2023.

“Based on its first quarter performance there is a high probability the economy’s annual growth rate this year will top 3.5%. The rebound in tourism should boost second quarter figures,” Magginas said.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by George Georgiopoulos and Renee Maltezou, editing by Ed Osmond)

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