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Greece reports 1st govt surplus since 1995

dpa logodpa 24/04/2017

Greece has posted an overall government surplus, marking the first time since Eurostat began recording the indicator in 1995.

Greece has posted an overall government surplus of 1.288 billion euros ($A1.8 billion), or 0.7 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016, the EU statistical agency Eurostat says.

The figure, which includes debt service, marks the first time that Greece has reported a government surplus since Eurostat began recording the indicator in 1995 and comes as the heavily-indebted country and its European creditors are aiming to finalise the terms of its next bailout payment.

In 2015, the country reported a government deficit of 5.9 per cent of GDP.

However, despite the progress, Greece's government debt was still the highest in the EU, amounting to 314.9 billion euros, or 179 per cent of GDP in 2016.

The European Commission said the Eurostat data indicated a budget surplus excluding debt service - known as a primary surplus - of 4.2 per cent of GDP in 2016.

"This is significantly above the 0.5 per cent of GDP program target set for 2016 and even above the target of 3.5 per cent set for 2018," said Margaritis Schinas, spokesman for the European Commission.

"This confirms the trends which we, at the Commission, have been reporting for a while."

He added the EU was "confident" that Greece can reach the agreed primary surplus target of 1.7 per cent of GDP in 2017.

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