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Greek public spending dives in first half of 2015

[ATHENS] Greek public spending fell sharply in the first half of 2015, according to figures released Thursday by the finance ministry.

The state spent 23.2 billion euros between January and the end of June, compared to 26 billion euros over the same period last year.

But state revenues also took a hit, amounting to 21.8 billion euros compared to 23.6 billion in first-half 2014.

Greek economic analysis site Macropolis said the government had cut spending in a wide range of areas, from hospitals and job centres to family allowances, and some of the reductions had been major.

Once debt repayments are stripped out of expenditure, the Greek state effectively finished the first half of 2015 with a budget surplus - a fact likely to be cheered by creditors.

On this basis, the surplus amounted to 1.88 billion euros in the first half, compared to 707 million euros recorded in the same period a year earlier.

Short on cash due to delays in the negotiations with creditors over a rescue for the stricken Greek economy, the government delved into the reserves of public bodies, local agencies and social security funds to pay wages and pensions in recent months.

Greece was able to pay off billions of euros in debt owed to the European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund this week with emergency "bridge" funding of 7.16 billion euros from the European Union.


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