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UPDATE 2-Resilient Greek economy shrinks 8.2% in 2020, less than expected

George Georgiopoulos
·2-min read

* Greek economy contracts 8.2% in 2020, less than projected * Economy grew in Q4 but at slower pace than in Q3 * EU Commission projected 10% contraction last year (Updates with comment, background, details) By George Georgiopoulos ATHENS, March 5 (Reuters) - Greece's economy shrank by 8.2% last year, less than expected despite tough restrictions to contain the novel coronavirus, seasonally-adjusted data from the country's statistics service (ELSTAT) showed on Friday. Both the European Commission and the Bank of Greece, the country's central bank, had forecast a 10% contraction in the 169 billion euro ($201.63 billion) economy's gross domestic product (GDP). "The Greek economy endured amid unprecedented health, social and economic conditions," Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said in a statement. Many areas of the country are in lockdown and earlier this week Greece extended restrictions after infections surged. The recession will persist in this year's first quarter but at a milder pace, Nikos Magginas, an economist at National Bank, said, adding vaccinations would act as a catalyst for the next quarters. "The economy proved more resilient with households and businesses better prepared for the second wave of the pandemic," he said. The European Commission last month cut its forecast for Greece's economic growth this year to 3.5%, saying restrictions to limit the pandemic will slow its recovery. It had previously forecast 5.0% growth this year. The statistics service said that on a quarterly basis the economy expanded in the final three months of 2020, but more slowly than in the third quarter. Seasonally-adjusted data showed GDP grew 2.7% in the fourth quarter from the third. But an upward revision showed 3.1% growth in the third quarter. The data also showed the economy contracted 7.9% year-on-year in the fourth quarter, shrinking more slowly than the third quarter's revised 10.5% decline. Consumption declined 1.4% quarter-on-quarter in October-to-December, with a 13.4% fall in exports outpacing a 9.5% drop in imports, meaning a negative contribution of net exports to GDP. *********************************************** KEY FIGURES Q4 Q3 Q2 Q1 GDP (q/q, %) +2.7 +3.1* -13.4* 0.4* GDP (y/y,%) -7.9 -10.5* -13.8* 0.1* --------------------------------------------- * revised source: ELSTAT ($1 = 0.8382 euros) (Writing by George Georgiopoulos, additional reporting by Angeliki Koutantou, Lefteris Papadimas and Renee Maltezou ; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore and Barbara Lewis)