ATHENS, Greece - Greece's finance ministry said Tuesday that it is on target to achieve a primary budget surplus in 2013, a key target set in the country's bailout agreements.
Deputy Finance Minister Christos
Staikouras said the central government's primary surplus -- which does not count
the cost of paying interest on existing debt -- is expected to be 691 million
euros ($943.5 million).
"After many years, and with
massive sacrifices made by Greek society, the country has achieved a primary
surplus," Staikouras said.
"This is a very important result that was achieved by meeting targets in revenues and exceeding them in terms of expenditures."
The primary surplus for the overall
government, which includes local administrations, is expected to be 812 million
euros ($1.1 billion), Staikouras said. That data will be released in about one
month, while the European Union's statistics agency, Eurostat, will release its
2013 Greek budget data in April.
Greece has promised to balance its
budget, before counting interest payments, in the hopes of qualifying for a
debt relief deal this year.
The country has been relying on
international rescue loans since 2010, when it lost access to bond markets as
investors worried about its high debt.
Bailout inspectors from the European
Union, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund are due back
in Athens to review the country's finances, but a date has not yet been set.