April 26, 2018 / 11:40 AM / 10 months ago

Greek think tank IOBE maintains 2.1 percent growth forecast for 2018

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece’s economy will expand by 2.1 percent this year, the country’s most influential think tank IOBE said in its quarterly review on Thursday, sticking to a previous forecast.

The Foundation of Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) also estimated that the country’s jobless rate will drop further this year, to around 19.8 percent from an average 21.5 in 2017.

Greece’s economy grew for a fourth straight quarter in October-December, driven by stronger investment spending, but the pace was slower than in the previous quarter, the statistics service ELSTAT said last month.

But IOBE warned that if the Greek economy does not implement structural reforms - mainly to make its economy more competitive and its public sector more effective - the real growth pace in the next 10 years “will hardly exceed 1 percent annually”.

Greek and European Union data showed on Monday that the country far exceeded its international lenders’ budgetary demands in 2017, posting an overall budget surplus for the second straight year even when debt repayments are included.

Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou and Renee Maltezou; Editing by Alison Williams

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