July 30, 2016 / 6:10 PM / 3 years ago

Greek central bank head sees primary surplus at 1.3 percent of GDP: report

People make their way next to the headquarters of Bank of Greece in central Athens, Greece, October 30, 2015. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece’s central bank forecasts the country will post a primary surplus of 1.3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) this year, its governor Yannis Stournaras told a Greek newspaper.

Under its third international bailout signed last summer, Greece aims at a primary surplus - which excludes debt servicing costs - of 0.5 percent of GDP this year. The bank had forecast earlier this month the country would achieve a surplus of 0.9 percent this year.

“Fiscal hurdles for 2016 have been overcome and the forecast by the (central) Bank of Greece is that the year will close with a primary surplus of 1.3 percent of GDP,” Stournaras was quoted as saying by Sunday’s To Vima newspaper.

He said that, therefore, Greece has fiscal room and will not need to activate a contingency mechanism of across-the-board spending cuts that was agreed with its international lenders if the country missed its fiscal targets.

Greece almost toppled out of the euro zone in 2015 and has been cutting spending and raising taxes since 2010 to put its finances back on track. Stournaras said that if the country wanted to put an end to austerity, it should make headway on privatizations and agreed reforms.

Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Alexander Smith

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