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Greece’s Four-Month Budget Deficit Narrows 74%, Beats Target

Greece’s budget deficit narrowed 74 percent in the first four months of the year, beating a target set for the period as reduced spending offset lower revenue.

The central government’s deficit for January to April, which excludes spending by state-controlled enterprises, shrank to 2.4 billion euros ($3.1 billion) from 9.1 billion euros a year earlier, according to preliminary data from the Athens-based Finance Ministry. The target was for a 5.7 billion-euro deficit. The primary deficit, which excludes debt service payments, declined to 330 million euros from 1.7 billion euros a year earlier.

Greece is in its sixth year of a recession that has been deepened by austerity measures to cut the budget deficit in compliance with terms of two bailouts from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. The European Commission forecast that Greece’s deficit will shrink to 3.8 percent of gross domestic product this year from 10 percent in 2012.

Net revenue dropped 2.6 percent to 15.7 billion euros in the January to April period, exceeding a target of 15 billion euros. Spending dropped to 18.2 billion euros from 25.3 billion euros compared with a target of 20.7 billion euros.

On a cash basis, the government’s deficit to the end of April was 5.3 billion euros compared with 3.1 billion euros a year earlier, the Bank of Greece said in a separate statement.

Greece will sell 1 billion euros of 13-week treasury bills on May 14, the Public Debt Management Agency said today.

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