IMF: Greece is among the growth leaders in the eurozone

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UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — The International Monetary Fund said that Greece is among the growth leaders in the eurozone, despite the fact that the country still has the highest level of debt and unemployment in the block.

“There are many positive events that can be noted. We expect growth to accelerate to almost 2.5% this year from about 2% in 2018. This puts Greece at the top of the growth table in the eurozone,” the head of the IMF mission said in Greece Peter Dolman in a report on the economy of Greece.

“The government is fulfilling its ambitious financial objectives agreed with European member states, although not without some loss for growth. Market access was restored with two successful issues of government bonds this year,”

“We also see normalization in other areas. For example, customers can now freely transfer their funds to any bank in Greece, while the banks themselves almost completely redeemed emergency liquidity assistance provided by the European Central Bank. In the medium term, we expect a gradual slowdown in growth achieving full-time economies, “said Dolman.

“Unemployment is declining, although it is still unacceptably high, especially among young people,” he added.

The unemployment rate in Greece fell to 18% in December from a downwardly revised 18.3% in the previous month, data from the country’s statistical service Elstat showed. Among young people aged 15 to 24, the unemployment rate fell to 39.5%.

As reported by Vesti.Economy, in August 2018, Greece withdrew from the financial assistance program launched in 2010.

For eight years, the Troika of international lenders has provided the country with low-interest money in exchange for tough reforms and austerity policy. Among the reforms were a reduction in salaries, raising the retirement age and taxes.

This external financial support was the longest-running assistance provided to the EU states after the 2008 international financial crisis.

“Despite its hard-earned economic stability, Greece remains a country facing heightened vulnerability and weak payment discipline. This is reflected, for example, in very high rates of non-performing loans in banks and increased levels of debt of the private and public sectors,” the IMF said.

The Fund recommended that Greece pursue a policy aimed at increasing the flexibility of the labor market, productivity and competitiveness. The country should also improve the “set of fiscal policies” and work on supporting its banks, which, according to the IMF, remain “weakened due to overdue loans”.

According to the European Commission, in 2019 in Germany and France, the two largest economies in the eurozone, growth will slow to 1.1% and 1.3%, respectively. At the same time, Greece’s GDP is expected to grow by 2.2%.

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