The Greek economy outperformed all expectations in the year’s first quarter, contracting by just 2.3% year-on-year, while posting a 4.4% quarterly growth from the October-December 2020 period, according to provisional data published by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) on Friday.
Gross domestic product in the eurozone shrank 1.8% in January-March on an annual basis and 0.6% from the previous quarter, meaning Greece fared worse year-on-year but better on a quarterly basis.
The biggest contribution in this quarterly expansion of the Greek economy, per the ELSTAT data, came from investments, as they increased by 8.6% from 2020. National Bank commented that this constituted the highest rise in investments since the second quarter of 2018 and mostly concerned expenditure on technology, IT and communication equipment, as well as construction (except for houses).
Of course, the relative growth in investments is also due to the low basis of comparison from the first quarter of 2020, when they had declined by 4.3%.
Another factor for the better result in Q1 was ELSTAT’s revision of the GDP course in the first quarter last year, showing a 0.5% annual contraction instead of a 0.6% expansion.
Exports of goods increased 8.2% on a yearly basis, as exports of services declined 38.7%.
“The Greek economy showed a greater resilience than expected over the first quarter,” National’s analysts pointed out, proceeding to an adjustment of the year’s anticipated growth rate to 5%, with a chance for an even higher review later on. They even forecast a 12.3% annual rebound in the second quarter.
Finance Minister Christos Staikouras made no secret of his satisfaction with the latest figures. “The Greek economy, in spite of the high cost it suffered due to the health crisis, managed to show resilience and resistance. The economy appears to be overcoming, with some losses, this unprecedented storm, and is standing tall,” he said.