BRUSSELS – A sign of growth in the Greek economy which has lost 25 percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is a sign the country’s deep recession has ended, the European Commission said.
Greece’s economy is expected to grow 0.6 percent this year, before GDP expands 2.9 percent in 2015, the Commission said on Nov. 4 in its Autumn Economic Forecast. Those forecasts are unchanged from its last report in May. For 2016 it predicts growth of 3.7 percent.
Greece hasn’t released seasonally-adjusted quarterly GDP data since 2011, a year after it went hat-in-hand to international lenders asking for what turned into 240 billion euros ($306 billion) in two bailouts.
But that came with attached harsh austerity measures that created record unemployment and deep poverty, destroying the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of people, apart from politicians and the rich who continued to prosper while workers, pensioners and the poor bore the brunt of the crushing economic crisis.
“GDP growth in seasonally-adjusted terms became positive in the second quarter this year, and a strong third quarter figure is expected,” the Commission said in the report, Bloomberg said.
“The recovery is projected to gain strength next year. However, uncertainty over policy implementation looks set to continue weighing on investment decisions in the first half of 2015.”
Greece’s public debt is forecast to come down to 168.8 percent of GDP in 2015 after peaking at 175.5 percent this year, the Commission said. The country’s budget deficit will narrow to 0.1 percent of GDP next year from 1.6 percent this year, according to the Commission.
Confirmation of Greece’s return to growth could come next week, when the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) releases GDP data for the third quarter.