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Greek Economic Sentiment Declines as Austerity Measures Kick In

Greek economic sentiment fell in November as consumers adjusted to austerity measures aimed at ending the country’s fiscal woes.

An index measuring short-term economic trends slipped to 67 from 67.3 in October, the Athens-based Foundation for Economic & Industrial Research said in an e-mailed report today. Consumer confidence rose three points to minus 69, said the foundation, also known as IOBE.

“Greek households remain cautious and restrained when faced with the current economic climate,” IOBE wrote in the report. “Continued alleviation of the negative index in the next months could be an indication of the gradual re-adjustment of consumers’ hopes to the new economic facts.”

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou agreed in May to austerity measures, including wage and pension cuts and higher taxes, in exchange for 110 billion euros ($146 billion) of emergency loans from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund that helped stave off a default.

Greece’s economy is in the second year of a recession and the government forecasts that it will contract 4 percent this year and 2.6 percent next year before returning to growth in 2012. The state budget deficit, which was more than five times the EU’s 3 percent ceiling in 2009, shrank 30 percent in the first 10 months of the year, according to final data released by the Finance Ministry on Nov. 22.

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