UPDATE 1-Greek economy shrinks 5.3 pct in Q1, pace of slump eases

Wed May 15, 2013 5:34am EDT

Related Topics

ATHENS, May 15 (Reuters) - Greece's economy shrank 5.3
percent in the first quarter as expected, data showed on
Wednesday, as austerity measures demanded by the country's
foreign lenders continued to pummel consumption and investment.
    The seasonally unadjusted data showed the recession - now in
its sixth year - eased slightly from the 5.7 percent slump in
the fourth quarter of 2012. Analysts polled by Reuters had also
projected a 5.3 percent decline in economic output.
    Greece has benefited from growing optimism over its future
in recent months as fears of a euro zone exit fade, but its
underlying economy has shown few signs of a recovery and
unemployment remains at a record level of 27 percent.
    "The data provides no signal of a bottoming out of the
recession," said economist Platon Monokroussos at Eurobank.
    "However, the recent bounce in economic sentiment and a
strong tourism season are expected to lead to a gradual
improvement in GDP dynamics in the coming quarters." 
    On Tuesday, ratings agency Fitch upgraded its sovereign
credit rating for Greece by one notch, citing the country's
progress in cutting its budget deficit. 
    That has helped push bond yields to a three-year low and the
stock market also surged to a nearly two-year high on Wednesday.
    Data on quarter-on-quarter changes were not provided. 
    The economy is seen contracting 4.2 to 4.5 percent this year
before it starts to recover in 2014, based on European Comission
and government forecasts. It slumped 6.4 percent last year.
    After nearly crashing out of the euro last year and coming
under attack for stalled reforms, Greece has won praise in
recent months for getting back on track with deficit-cutting
goals and pushing through unpopular austerity measures.
    
**********************************************************
    KEY FIGURES      Q1 2013   Q4 2012   Q3 2012   Q2 2012
    GDP (y/y, pct)     -5.3      -5.7      -6.7      -6.4
    ----------------------------------------------------
    Source: Eurostat
FILED UNDER:
A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Find your dream retirement town

Florida? Hawaii? Reuters has teamed up with Zillow to give you the power to customize a list of your best places to retire.  Video | Full Article