Greek economy contracts by 8.2% in 2020: Report

An employee makes repairs at a closed hotel in Fira, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, on the island of Santorini, Greece

The Greek economy contracted by 8.2 per cent on an annual basis in 2020, according to the first estimate the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) released.

“The Greek economy was severely shaken, but withstood the conditions of unprecedented health, social and economic difficulties,” commented Finance Minister Christos Staikouras on Friday in an e-mailed press statement, Xinhua news agency reported.

The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) amounted to 168.5 billion euros ($202.7 billion), compared to 183.6 billion euros in 2019, ELSTAT said.

The 8.2 per cent GDP contraction for 2020 is considerably lower than the official estimate of a 10.5 per cent recession projected in the 2021 budget. The latest European Commission estimate had been a 10 per cent contraction in Greece.

“The result is better than the estimates, thanks to the revision of the previous quarter and the relatively good picture in the fourth quarter,” Staikouras noted. “On a quarterly basis the Greek economy showed in the fourth quarter (Q4) probably the best performance in Europe,” he added, referring to the European Union.

In Q4 of last year, the Greek GDP decreased 7.9 per cent year-on-year, but increased by 2.7 per cent from the previous quarter.

The Greek economy showed a 1.6 per cent annual increase in gross capital formation over Q4 2020, along with a 13.6 per cent expansion in product exports. At the same time exports of services slumped 55.4 per cent and final consumption eased 2.2 per cent on a yearly basis.

“It is certain that recession in 2020 was deep, although it came close to the European average. In 2021 too, until today, we are going through a difficult year. However, we can be realistically optimistic, as with the help of science, we are building ever more rapidly a wall of protection through the vaccinations,” said the minister.

“Therefore, the social and economic life will revert to normality,” he stressed.

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