Massive 7.6 bln€ Greek primary budget surplus in Jan-Nov generated by taxes, spending and investments cuts

17 December 2018
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The Greek state posted a massive primary budget deficit over the first 11 months of the year, almost doubling the stated target for the Jan-Nov 2018 period, riding on the back of higher-than-expected tax revenues, tighter spending and eyebrow-raising scrimping on public investments.
Spending was cut by a further 1.257 billion euros from the budgeted target, while the public investment budget – which covers the procurement of every from ambulances to bridge maintenance services – was fell short of the target by 1.55 billion euros. In absolute terms, the creditor-mandated primary budget surplus for Jan-Nov (as a percentage of GDP) exceeded the target by 3.54 billion euros – standing at 7.612 billion, up from an 11-month goal of 4.045 billion euros.

While causing smiles at the finance ministry, much of the Cabinet and “bean-counting”European creditors, the unprecedented – by post-1974 Greek standards – string of primary budget surpluses has generated howls by the opposition, unions and much of the business world. The criticism points to the effects of a “tax tsunami” unleashed by the leftist-rightist coalition government since 2016, cuts in state spending and anemic public investments.

State revenues over the period reached 45.602 billion euros, exceeding the target of 44.966 billion euros. Nevertheless, returns owed by the state to businesses and individual taxpayers fell short of the target by 475 million euros – 3.181 billion euros, down from the target of 3.656 billion euros.

The public investment program posted the biggest loss, reaching only 2.495 billion euros over Jan-Nov, down by 1.55 billion euros from the target. Spending reached 42.414 billion euros, down from the 43.671 billion euros

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