The Greek state budget showed a primary surplus of 2.903 billion euros in the January-August period, up from a budget target for a primary deficit of 272 million euros and a primary surplus of 1.124 billion euros in the same period last year, the finance ministry said on Monday.
The ministry report said that, according to provisional budget execution in an amended cash basis, the state budget showed a deficit of 1.591 billion euros in the eight-month period from a budget target for a deficit of 4.976 billion euros and a shortfall of 2.677 billion recorded in the corresponding period last year.
Net revenue was 33.127 billion euros in the January-August period, up 7.9 pct from budget targets, reflecting the collection of 1.119 billion euros from extending a concession contract for the Athens International Airport originally planned to be collected in 2018 and extraordinary collection of 644 million euros from ANFAs in May.
Regular budget revenue was 36.107 billion euros, up 8.2 pct from targets. Tax returns totaled 2.980 billion euros, up 319 million euros from targets, while Public Investment Programme revenue was 1.521 billion euros, up 38 million from targets.
State budget spending was 34.718 billion euros in the January-August period, down 965 million from budget targets, reflecting a reduced spending on interest (205 million euros) and lower than expected implementation of the Public Investment Programme (380 million euros). Budget spending was up compared with the same period last year by 918 million euros due to higher social spending, higher interest payments and higher Public Investment Programme spending (523 million).
In August, net revenue was 4.539 billion euros, up 287 million from targets. Regular budget revenue was 5.007 billion euros, up 354 million from targets. Public Investment Programme revenue totaled 374 million euros, up 285 million from targets. Tax returns totaled 468 million euros in August, up 66 million from monthly targets. Budget spending totaled 4.262 billion euros in August, down 338 million from monthly targets, reflecting lower spending in Public Investment Programme.
Greek budget revenue has exceeded targets by 287 million euros in August, offering evidence of positive developments arising on the fiscal front, Deputy Finance Minister Theodore Skylakakis said on Monday, offering assurances that the government will achieve a target for a primary surplus of 3.5 pct of GDP this year.
Finance ministry officials said that the ministry will be able to assess by mid-October whether there will be additional fiscal space beyond the 3.5 pct primary surplus, something that will be accurately determined by the end of the year. For the time being, a cushion of 248 million euros is evident, resulting from lower ministry spending. This cushion could reach 500 million euros, but the final result will be evident at the end of the year, the sources said, adding that the ministry's goal is that the 2020 state budget will be more realistic so as to avoid the excessive surpluses of the past.