Greek economic facts
(ATHENS) - Basic economic figures for Greece, the epicentre of the eurozone debt crisis and the first member state to be bailed out by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, in May 2010.
EUROZONE ENTRY: Greece joined the euro as its 12th member state on January 1, 2001. It failed to meet the Maastricht Treaty criteria for eurozone membership of a public deficit of less than 3.0 percent of Gross Domestic Product and inflation at less than 2.7 percent when the euro was formally launched January 1, 1999.
PUBLIC DEBT: Greece has highest total debt ratio in the bloc, owing more than 350 billion euros, and exceeds by far the eurozone limit of 60 percent of GDP. In 2010, total debt was equal to 144.9 percent of GDP, jumping to 161.7 percent in 2011. It is estimated to fall to 145.5 percent in 2012 under the budget adopted on December 7, 2011 and then be brought down to 120 percent by 2020 under a debt write-down accord with private creditors agreed in October.
PUBLIC DEFICIT: The annual public deficit -- the shortfall between revenues and spending -- was 10.6 percent of GDP in 2010, 9.0 percent this year and is projected to fall to 5.4 percent in 2012 under the latest budget. The EU limit is 3.0 percent. EU figures published in November put the 2010 public deficit 10.6 percent, 8.9 percent this year and 7.0 percent in 2012, before taking into account debt reduction measures.
ECONOMIC GROWTH: The economy shrank 3.5 percent in 2010, followed by contractions of 5.5 percent this year and 2.8 percent in 2012 before returning to growth of 0.7 percent in 2013, according to 2012 budget and EU figures.
ECONOMY: The Greek economy is small, accounting for less than 3.0 percent of total eurozone economic output. The unofficial economy is believed to account for a third of all activity. Tourism and shipping dominate, helping drive a large number of medium-sized companies in the services sector. Stringent austerity measures to cope with the large debt burden have hit activity. Much of the economy is not competitive, leading to large and persistent balance of payments deficits, and has been in recession since 2008, with unemployment rising sharply. The EU estimates that the economy will have contracted 15 percent since the beginning of the Greek crisis.
UNIT WAGE COSTS: Salary costs rose 7.2 percent in 2009 as the boom years tailed off but then fell 1.6 percent in 2010, 2.9 percent in 2011 and are expected by the EU to fall another 2.8 percent next year.
INFLATION: Put at 4.7 percent in 2010, 2.8 percent this year, 0.6 percent in 2012, according to the budget.
UNEMPLOYMENT: Unemployment hit 16.3 percent at the end of the second quarter this year and is expected to come in at 15.4 percent for the full-year, rising then to 17.1 percent in 2012. The EU sees unemployment at 16.6 percent this year and 18.4 percent next year.
CREDIT RATING: Standard and Poor's rates Greece "CC", almost equivalent to default. Fitch and Moody's have the country at "CCC" and "Ca,".
POPULATION: 10.78 million, down from 11.28 million in 2009, according to the latest official figures in May, as migrants leave due to the economic downturn and birth rates continue very low. More than 35 percent of the population live in Athens and the immediate surrounding area.
OFFICIAL LANGUAGE: Greek
POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS: Parliamentary democracy with 300 deputies elected for four years, forming a government led currently by technocrat Lucas Papademos, ex vice-president of the European Central Bank. The president is Carolos Papoulias, elected by parliament in 2010 for five years, whose office is largely ceremonial. The last general elections in October 2009 brought the Socialist PASOK party to power but premier George Papandreou made way in November to allow Papademos to lead a coalition government (with New Democracy (conservative) and Laos (far-right) whose main task is to implement the latest EU and International Monetary Fund debt rescue. The next polls should be advanced to early 2012.
Text and Picture Copyright 2011 AFP. All other Copyright 2011 EUbusiness Ltd. All rights reserved. This material is intended solely for personal use. Any other reproduction, publication or redistribution of this material without the written agreement of the copyright owner is strictly forbidden and any breach of copyright will be considered actionable.