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Greece, creditors to resume talks in Athens, seek swift deal


Under the bailout, Greece needed to clock a primary surplus of 0.5 per cent of output in 2016, followed by 1.75 per cent this year and 3.5 per cent in 2018.

The European Commission said the Eurostat data indicated a budget surplus excluding debt service - known as a primary surplus - of 4.2 per cent of GDP in 2016.

The government's estimate of the primary budget surplus, under the terms of the bailout, is based on data released by the country's statistics agency ELSTAT on Friday.

Greece far exceeded its worldwide lenders' demands for budget savings past year, official data showed on Friday, outstripping even 2017's target and presenting a strong case for unlocking more bailout funds.


Greece achieved a primary budget surplus of about four per cent of gross domestic product a year ago, outperforming its 0.5 per cent of GDP target under its bailout programme, a government official told Reuters yesterday.

European Union and International Monetary Fund officials arrived in Athens last night as Greece's €86 billion bailout program talks continue and Greek politicians are looking to Mario Draghi to start printing Monday as capital flows out of the banks at unprecedented rates.

Athens hopes to discuss the fund's participation and its projections at the sidelines of the IMF's spring meetings in Washington.

Achieving high primary budget surpluses is key to the third bailout signed by Greece in mid-2015. Either way, it far overshot the initial target of 0.5 percent of GDP. "The data suggests that the 2017 fiscal target under the bailout program is fully attainable under the current baseline macroeconomic scenario".

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