Revised Greek GDP figures show recession deeper than thought

ATHENS Sat Oct 6, 2012 1:48pm EDT

Greek flags are seen as a man walks inside an arcade with closed shops and ''for rent'' signs on them in central Athens August 22, 2012. REUTERS/John Kolesidis

Greek flags are seen as a man walks inside an arcade with closed shops and ''for rent'' signs on them in central Athens August 22, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/John Kolesidis

ATHENS (Reuters) - The Greek economy shrank even more over the last five years than previously estimated, according to revised economic growth figures released by the debt-ridden country's statistics agency.

In a statement published late on Friday, the ELSTAT agency said gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 4.9 percent in 2010 and 7.1 percent in 2011, exceeding previous estimates of 3.5 percent and 6.9 percent respectively.

The revision took account of "significant reductions ... in the consumption expenditure of households," ELSTAT said.

GDP estimates are a key parameter in assessing the sustainability of Greece's debt under two multi-billion-euro bailouts from the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund since 2010.

The Greek economy has shrunk by about a fifth since 2008, partly due to punishing austerity measures demanded in exchange for the bailouts.

The Greek government, which is negotiating new savings in order to clinch the next loan tranche, is forecasting a further economic contraction of 6.5 percent this year and 3.8 percent next.

(Reporting by Harry Papachristou; Editing by Catherine Evans)

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