March 5, 2018 / 11:11 AM / 4 months ago

UPDATE 1-Investment helps Greek economy grow for fourth straight quarter

    * GDP expands by a quarterly 0.1 pct in Q4
    * Data shows capital spending was key driver, net exports a
drag

 (Adds economist comment, details)
    By George Georgiopoulos
    ATHENS, March 5 (Reuters) - Greece's economy grew for a
fourth straight quarter in October-December, driven by stronger
investment spending, but the pace was slower than in the
previous quarter, the statistics service ELSTAT said on Monday.
    Seasonally adjusted data showed gross domestic product rose
0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017, the expansion
decelerating from an upwardly revised 0.4 percent in
July-September.
    The economy's gradual recovery from a recession that shrank
GDP by 25 percent is boosting hopes that Greece will emerge
successfully from years of bailouts in August, when its current
aid programme ends.    
    In year-on-year terms, growth actually accelerated to 1.9
percent in the final quarter of last year from an upwardly
revised 1.4 percent in the third quarter.
    Based on a first estimate of seasonally unadjusted data,
full-year GDP growth last year came to 1.4 percent, ELSTAT said.
    "The full-year performance was slightly weaker than official
forecasts of 1.6 percent," said National Bank economist Nikos
Magginas.
    It was also below the European Commission's autumn
projection, also of 1.6 percent and a similar forecast by the
Bank of Greece.
    Magginas said the main driver was investment spending as
support from strong tourism faded, as usually happens, in the
last quarter of the year. Gross capital formation jumped 27.8
percent from the third quarter.
    The data showed a negative GDP contribution from net exports
in the final quarter along with a 0.4 percent fall in private
consumption. Imports grew 1.7 percent compared with a 2.3
percent decrease in exports quarter-on-quarter.
    "Evidently, part of the increased capital spending had a
high import content, largely explaining the acceleration in
import growth," Magginas said. "Consumer spending was weaker
than expected, showing that the financial condition of
households is still fragile."  
     
****************************************************************
KEY FIGURES      Q4 2017   Q3 2017  Q2 2017   Q1 2017   Q4 2016
GDP (q/q, pct)      0.1       0.4*     0.7*      0.6*     -0.4*
GDP (y/y, pct)      1.9       1.4*     1.5*      0.4      -0.9
-------------------------------------------------------------
* revised
source: ELSTAT

 (Reporting by George Georgiopoulos; editing by David Stamp)
  
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