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Greece sees 2.4% growth in 2018 budget

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

ATHENS, Greece (AFP) — Greece's economy will rebound with 2.4-per cent growth in 2018, and narrowly meet primary surplus targets, according to the government's latest draft budget on Monday.

The surplus not counting debt payments “is expected to reach 3.57 per cent,” according to the budget draft tabled to parliament. The target mandated by Greece's creditors is 3.5 per cent, up from 1.75 per cent this year.

Greece is expected to post 1.8-per cent growth this year, according to the draft.

The country's debt is expected to grow to 327.9 billion euros (US$387 billion) from 318.7 billion euros this year, or 175.6 per cent of output.

And Athens intends to sell state assets worth just over 1.1 billion euros in 2018.

Greece has received two multi-billion euro bailouts since 2010.

The third rescue programme, currently financially supported by EU states but not the International Monetary Fund, runs to August 2018 and Athens then hopes to fully return to market financing.

In line with a June decision by European finance ministers, Greece plans to create a “cash buffer” to ease its way out of its third bailout in August.

This will be done “through the ESM (European rescue fund) and possibly through new bond issues,” the draft said.

In July, Greece made a symbolic return to debt markets after a three-year hiatus, selling three billion euros worth of five-year bonds at 4.625 per cent, lower than its previous outing in 2014.