Eurostat Confirms Greece's Government Surplus for 2016 -- Update

By Nektaria Stamouli Features Dow Jones Newswires

The European Union's statistics arm verified Monday that Greece posted its first overall budget surplus in 21 years, with debt repayments included, in 2016.

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Eurostat expressed no reservations about the quality of data provided by the Greek national statistics service and published Friday.

Greece posted a primary surplus of 4.2% of gross domestic product, excluding interest payments for 2016, Eurostat figures showed.

"This is significantly above the 0.5% of GDP program target set for 2016 and even above the target of 3.5% set for 2018," European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said, adding that the body was confident Greece would reach its targets in 2017 and 2018.

The country's general government debt, however, rose to 179% of GDP in 2016 from 177.4% in 2015, according to Eurostat figures.

Under the terms of its bailout program, Greece had to reach a 0.5% primary budget surplus in 2016. Greece has to reach a primary surplus of 1.75% in 2017 and 3.5% in 2018 and maintain it at that level in the medium term.

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Write to Nektaria Stamouli at nektaria.stamouli@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 24, 2017 07:45 ET (11:45 GMT)