Bank of Greece sees economy 'clearly improving' despite sharp drop in output
George Provopoulos, the governor of the Bank of Greece presents the central bank's annual report in Athens, Monday, Feb. 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
Published Monday, February 25, 2013 11:38AM EST
ATHENS -- The recession in Greece has cut output by 20.1 per cent between 2008 and 2012, but the country's economy is "clearly improving" after avoiding the dangers of a default and euro exit, the governor of the Bank of Greece said Monday.
European Central Bank governing council member George Provopoulos said Greece's economy would remain stuck in recession in 2013, with unemployment expected to continue rising this year.
"The danger of (financial) collapse has been overcome and exit from the euro made more remote, while trust is steadily being regained," Provopoulos made the remarks while presenting the central bank's annual report.
Greece's annual gross domestic product is set to contract by 4.5 per cent this year, the report said, compared with the prediction made in the 2013 budget of a 3.8 per cent output loss.
Provopoulos urged politicians not to use the country's recession "as an excuse" to avoid implementing austerity measures agreed with creditors from the eurozone and International Monetary Fund.
"Important developments have created a clearly improving situation for the state of the economy ... but there is no room for complacency," Provopoulos said.
Successive tax hikes and other austerity measures have pushed unemployment up to 27 per cent, according to data for last November, while 61.7 per cent of Greeks under age 24 are out of work.