Greek economy shrank 0.3 percent last year but expanded toward end

Greece’s economy expanded slightly in the last three months of 2015, the country’s statistics service said on Monday, revising flash estimates of a 0.6 percent decline and pointing to a smaller full-year contraction than previously estimated.

The data showed a 0.1 percent increase in gross domestic product from October to December compared with the previous quarter, based on seasonally adjusted data. Private consumption and investments were the main drivers.

The 173 billion euro ($188 billion) economy shrank at an annual 0.8 percent pace in the fourth quarter, at a slower clip than a previous -1.9 percent flash estimate, the data showed.

“The revised figures bring the economy’s annual contraction last year to 0.3 percent, which is closer to market and official estimates than the previous -0.7 percent flash estimate,” said National Bank economist Nikos Magginas.

Quarter-on-quarter, consumption grew 0.4 percent in the last quarter with investment jumping 20.4 percent. Imports grew by 11 percent, while exports fell 0.4 percent, the data showed.

“Despite the loss of support from tourism in the fourth quarter, the economy’s performance confirms its relative resilience which mainly came from domestic demand – investment and private consumption despite the fiscal drag,” Magginas said.

A previously reported 1.4 percent contraction in the third quarter was upwardly revised to -1.2 percent after updated government data, ELSTAT said.

Looking at the year as a whole, economists said key drivers were growth in net exports – the result of a faster decline in imports relative to exports – and a relative resilience in private consumption.

“We continue to expect a real GDP decline close to 1.0 percent this year,” Eurobank economist Platon Monokroussos said.

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