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Against All Odds, Pandemic, Greece's Economy Jumps 16.2%

Αssociated Press

Two young women wearing face mask to protect from the spread of coronavirus, walk with their bicycles on Ermou Street, Athens main shopping area, Tuesday, April 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

ATHENS – COVID-19's choke hold on Greece's economy, battered by lockdowns aimed at slowing the pandemic, eased so much in the second quarter of the year that an unexpected 16.2 percent gain was realized.

The Hellenic Statistical Authority recorded the phenomenon that came after the government and Bank of Greece said they had forecast annual growth of only as much as 3.6 percent, hoping tourism would raise it.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said the numbers were far higher than expected that came as a fourth wave of the Coronavirus is expected to bring more grim news in the autumn.

“Even during a period with partial lockdowns, quarterly GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is already above pre-pandemic levels. We remain focused on reforms that deliver inclusive growth and raise living standards for all,” Mitsotakis wrote on Twitter, said Kathimerini.

That was especially seen as a good harbinger because it came before tourists were allowed in July, their numbers bigger than hoped for as well, above the expectations of 50 percent of the record 2019 year.

And the growth came after the economy shrank 2.3 percent annually in the first quarter and ELSTAT’s revised figures showed a 7 percent annual expansion in the year’s first half. 

“This growth rate is higher than the original forecasts,” said Finance Minister Christos Staikouras, adding that “It confirms the strong recovery of the Greek economy,” that was driven down by the closing of non-essential businesses.

The April-June period this year was also the most productive second quarter in the past decade in volume terms, narrowly topping that of 2019 by 0.03 percent, the figures showing consumer spending increased 0.2 percent from the first quarter and 12.1 percent from a year earlier the paper's report said.

“Given the positive course of all components of domestic demand, that is consumption, investments, net exports and the constant increase of indexes such as those of economic sentiment, industrial output, manufacturing, construction activity and tourism arrivals, the course of the gross domestic product will be better than the estimates made in the Midterm Fiscal Strategy Framework,”also  said Staikouras.