Greece sees economy growing, finally
ATHENS: Greece expects its economy to grow next year - at last.
In its draft budget presented on Monday, the government forecast the economy would grow 0.6 per cent next year, its first annual increase since 2007.
This year it is predicted to shrink four per cent, leaving the economy 25 per cent smaller than when it first slid into recession in 2008 during the global financial crisis.
The government even expects some jobs growth and a continued improvement in the state of the country's public finances.
Deputy Finance Minister Christos Staikouras noted a rise in investment and exports.
Greece's economy was hit by the global market turmoil in 2008. But its problems multiplied in late 2009, when it revealed that its public debt was far higher than expected as a result of dodgy book-keeping. That scared international investors away from buying its government bonds, bringing the country to the brink of bankruptcy in early 2010.
It was saved when other European countries and the International Monetary Fund stepped in with two massive bailouts. In exchange, Athens has had to make harsh spending cuts and tax increases to rein in the runaway deficits. AP