Data released by the Elstat statistics bureau on Monday indicates that the Greek economy has expanded for the second consecutive quarter, beating forecasts and emerging from a protracted recession for the first time in two years.
According to Elstat, the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 0.5 percent in the three months leading to September from the previous quarter, following a 0.2 percent growth in the second quarter.
Two consecutive quarters of growth officially mark the end of recession.
“The readings were clearly above market expectations, pointing to a slightly positive print for the full-year,” said Eurobank’s chief economist Platon Monokroussos.
“We expect fourth quarter GDP to remain on a positive trajectory, both on a quarterly and yearly basis, with our full-year forecast now standing at 0.1 percent,” he said.
According to the government, the economy will contract by 0.3 percent within the year before returning to growth in 2017 when it is anticipated to increase by 2.7 percent.
The EU predicts that the Greek economy will expand by 2.7 percent next year, while the Bank of Greece puts the figure at 2.5 percent.
According to the Greek government, the growth dynamic of the economy is better than it has been at any time since the economic crisis first began.
“The Greek economy has not known a comparable growth rhythm since the first quarter of 2008,” said government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos.
As Greece’s creditors last month released a €2.8 billion tranche from the country’s €86 billion bailout program, this economic data comes as welcome news.
The funds were approved after Athens implemented the required austerity measures, including tax hikes, pension cuts, public asset transfers and the start of a new privatization fund.
Some experts believe that economic growth can partly be attributed to the EU’s extra funds for Greece so the country could cope with the massive influx of immigrants.
At the present time, Greece is hosting over 60,000 refugees at hospitality centers nationwide and is reportedly receiving hundreds of millions of Euros from the EU.