December 4, 2018 / 11:31 AM / 6 days ago

Greek economic growth accelerates in third quarter on stronger consumer spending

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece’s economy expanded for a ninth straight quarter in July-to-September and at a faster pace than the previous quarter, mainly driven by stronger consumer spending, government data showed on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: A Greek national flag flies atop the Athens Academy next to the statues of ancient goddess Athena (L) and Greek philosopher Plato in Athens, Greece, August 20, 2018. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis/File Photo

Gross domestic product grew by 1.0 percent in the third quarter compared to an upwardly revised 0.4 percent in April-to-June, according to the seasonally adjusted data from statistics agency ELSTAT.

With Greece officially emerged from bailouts since late August, the data showed its recovery remains on track after a lengthy recession that shrank its economy by a quarter.

On an annual basis, Greece’s economic expansion accelerated to 2.2 percent in the third quarter from a downwardly revised 1.7 percent in the second quarter.

“The pick up in growth year-on-year was driven by stronger private consumption and a rise in inventories, helping to offset a significant drop in gross fixed capital formation which was amplified by an adverse base effect,” said National Bank economist Nikos Magginas.

That GDP component was upwardly revised to 26 percent in the third quarter of 2017 from a previous 8.3 percent decline.

“Exports continued their upward course but imports rose at a faster pace reflecting the strengthening of domestic demand,” Magginas added.

The data showed that on an annual basis, net exports made a negative contribution to overall economic growth. Exports grew 7.6 percent, trailing a 15 percent rise in imports.

Based on next year’s budget draft, Greece projects 2.1 percent growth in 2018, accelerating to 2.5 percent next year.

“The third quarter growth figure is in line with official forecasts for this year as a whole,” Magginas said.

Reporting by George Georgiopoulos; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne

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