Greek January-September government budget surplus slightly below target on lower revenues

People visit the ancient Temple of Zeus during the European Heritage Days in Athens, Greece September 24, 2017. REUTERS/Costas Baltas

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece’s central government attained a primary budget surplus of 4.5 billion euros (£4 billion) in the first nine months of the year, slightly below target due to lower tax revenues, finance ministry data showed on Monday.

The government’s target was for a primary budget surplus - which excludes debt-servicing costs - of 4.556 billion euros for the January-to-September period, meaning the surplus missed the target by 54 million euros.

The central government surplus excludes the budgets of social security organizations and local administration. It is different from the figure monitored by Greece’s EU/IMF lenders but indicates the state of the country’s finances.

Net tax revenue came in at 34.7 billion euros, 2.29 billion euros below target, while spending reached 34.58 billion euros, below a target of 36.17 billion euros.

The government is aiming for a general government primary budget surplus of 1.9 percent of GDP this year, based on its medium-term fiscal strategy plan. The bailout target is for a primary surplus of 1.75 percent of GDP.

Reporting by George Georgiopoulos