Greek January-August Deficit Shrinks 34% From Year Earlier

Greece’s state budget deficit in the first eight months of 2012 beat the budget target and in August the country recorded a surplus for the first time this year.

The gap, which excludes outlays by state-controlled enterprises, was 12.4 billion euros ($15.9 billion) compared with 18.7 billion euros in the same period a year earlier and a target of 15.2 billion euros, according to preliminary figures from the Athens-based Finance Ministry today. In August, there was a surplus of 850 million euros, the ministry said.

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’s coalition government is working to reach agreement with European Union and International Monetary Fund officials on 11.5 billion euros of budget cuts for 2013 and 2014, a requirement for the release of further funds from the country’s two bailouts.

Delays in executing economic revamping tied to the 240 billion euros of bailout loans have caused a funding squeeze for Greece.

Net budget revenue in the eight-month period was 33.1 billion euros, compared with 32.6 billion euros a year earlier and short of a target of 35.2 billion euros, according to the ministry. Net spending was 45.4 billion euros, compared with 51.2 billion euros in the same period of 2011.

The primary deficit in the eighth-month period was 1.3 billion euros, compared with a target of 4.2 billion euros.

To contact the reporters on this story: Maria Petrakis in Athens at; Natalie Weeks in Athens at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Stephen Foxwell at; Jerrold Colten at

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