ATHENS - The Greek economy grew by 2.2 pct in 2019 and it is expected to grow by 2.4 pct this year and 2.0 pct in 2021, the European Commission said in Winter 2020 Interim Economic Forecast for the EU economy released on Thursday.
In the report, the European Commission noted that net exports were again the key driver of economic growth in the first three quarters of 2019 and stressed that despite a slower growth in some of the country's main exporting markets, export growth remained resilient leading to further gains in market shares, including tourism.
"2019 growth was also positively affected by a strong increase in public consumption ahead of the July general elections, while private consumption and an investment increase remained subdued. The services sector continued to be the main force of growth in the first three quarters of 2019 and a recovery of the construction sector positively contributed in first half growth," the Commission said.
With business and consumer confidence back to their pre-crisis levels and available income rising, investments and consumption are expected to be the main forces of growth in 2020 and 2021, the Commission said, adding that an export growth rate could slow because of low growth rates in exporting markets. The labour market will continue improving with the unemployment rate falling to 16.6 pct in October 2019 from 18.5 pct a year earlier, the EU's executive said, and predicted that employment will continue rising in the coming years. The European Commission also forecasts a slightl increase in the harminized inflation rate in 2020 and 2021 after a 0.5 pct decline recorded in 2019.