ATHENS – It doesn’t include interest on debt and a host of big expenses, but Greece achieved a primary surplus of 2.5 billion euros, or 1.4 percent of Gross Domestic Product, between January and September this year, the government said.
The figure, which was announced Oct. 14 by Alternate Finance Minister Christos Staikouras, surpassed the goal of 1.5 billion euros, or 0.8 percent of GDP, laid out in the government’s mid-term fiscal program.
Earlier this month, Greece reported a primary surplus of 2.5 billion euros in the January-August period, sharply up from a primary surplus of 1.2 billion euros in the same period last year.
Staikouras said the data appear to confirm predictions that the debt-hit country will manage to beat the International Monetary Fund target for a primary budget surplus of 1.5 percent of GDP for 2014.
It may be partly illusory, however, as the figures don’t include the massive interest on debt, including 240 billion euros ($317 billion) owed the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB), nor the cost of running cities and towns, social security and some military expenditures.
Other economic indicators are less favorable and show the debt-to-GDP ratio is still almost 174 percent, leading some critics to say it’s unsustainable despite the primary surplus numbers.