ATHENS Greece managed to shrink its deficit in the first seven months of 2012 and squeeze it below targets as it scrambles to finalize 11.5 billion euros ($14.13 billion) of additional savings to secure continued bailout funding from the euro zone and the IMF.
Finance ministry data on Friday showed the central government deficit came to 13.2 billion euros, down from 15.98 billion in the same period a year ago and below a target of 14.83 billion euros.
The data released on Tuesday refers to the central government budget gap, which excludes local authorities and social security spending and does not coincide with the general government budget deficit, the benchmark for the EU's assessment of Greece's fiscal performance.
Greece's primary balance, which excludes debt servicing costs, remained in deficit at -3.07 billion euros for the seven-month period, below a targeted 4.53 billion, the ministry said.
The country's budget deficit reached 9.1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) last year from a shortfall of 10.3 percent in 2010. Athens is targeting a budget gap of 6.7 percent of gross output this year.
Following is a table with the main items of Greece's central budget deficit between January and July (in bln eur).
(Reporting by George Georgiopoulos; Editing by Catherine Evans)