Greece says budget shows primary surplus for first 7 months of year

ATHENS, Greece – The Greek government says it has beaten its budget deficit targets so far this year, posting a primary surplus.

Deputy Finance Minister Christos Staikouras said Monday that preliminary figures show the state budget had a primary surplus — which excludes interest payments on outstanding debt — of 2.6 billion ($3.5 billion) euros for January-July.

That is a far better result than its target of a 3.1 billion euro ($4.2 billion) deficit.

The overall budget deficit also beat its target, narrowing to 1.9 billion euros instead of 7.5 billion euros. The deficit now stands at 1 per cent of gross domestic product, from 6.8 per cent in the same period last year, he said.

Greece has depended on international rescue loans since 2010. In return, it has pledged to overhaul its economy.