ATHENS – Seven years into a deep recession, Greece’s economy, driven by record tourism, is expected to grow by 0.7 percent this year, the IOBE think said.
IOBE had earlier predicted a small economic expansion for the year, without setting a forecast but said unexpected growth in consumer and household spending, after Greeks keeping their wallets in their pockets the last few years, is helping show a burgeoning, if small, recovery.
Its new projections are essentially the same now as those of the country’s international lenders, the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) which sees 0.6 percent growth by the end of the year after years of shrinking.
“The IOBE now expects the Greek economy to grow by about 0.7 percent this year.” Household consumption would grow by one percent this year mainly due to easing unemployment during Greece’s high tourism season in the summer months, although there are still almost 1.4 million people without jobs.
The EU and the IMF see private consumption dropping by 1.8 percent this year. IOBE projected unemployment would average out at 26.7 percent this year, upwardly revising a previous 26 percent forecast, the news agency Reuters said.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has been saying for months that he has put the country on the road to recovery after hammering Greeks with unrelenting austerity demanded by the Troika.