ATHENS, Greece (AP) — High tourism revenues helped Greece's battered economy shrink less than initially estimated in April-June, making a projected exit from a six-year recession in 2014 more likely.
The country's statistical authority said Friday that the second quarter contraction was 3.8 percent of gross domestic product year-on-year — considerably better than last month's flash estimate of 4.8 percent, and the lowest in three years.
This provides a morale boost to the conservative-led government, which in coming weeks faces a tough inspection of the country's austerity program by its international creditors.
Greece has received more than 200 billion euros in rescue loans over the past three years, in exchange for harsh income and welfare cuts that hurt the economy and pushed unemployment to record highs. But it is still unclear whether the country will be able to pay down its debt after the bulk of the loans run out next summer, and potential new aid would probably come on condition of further austerity.
Analyst Vangelis Agapitos warned that it is still too early to say whether the projected return to growth next year can be achieved, as the government elected in June 2012 is showing signs of reform fatigue.