September 22, 2013 / 4:52 PM / 4 years ago

Greece close to hit primary budget surplus this year-Greek finmin source

ATHENS, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Greece and its lenders are close to agreement that the country will achieve a primary budget surplus this year, a senior Greek finance ministry official told reporters on Sunday.

“I think we are close to converge on a common, realistic estimate that there will be a small, viable primary budget surplus this year,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

The official made the statement after the first meeting between Greek and EU/IMF officials as part of the country’s latest bailout review that is expected to last until the end of next month.

Greece hopes to achieve a primary budget surplus, before interest payments, this year to trigger a clause in its bailout agreement that will allow it to seek further debt relief from its lenders.

Athens and its lenders are also very close to agree on their economic growth forecasts for Greece in the years 2013 and 2014, the official added without revealing the estimates.

Athens said earlier this week it expected its economy to shrink by 3.8 percent this year, less than a previously estimated contraction of 4.2 percent.

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