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Business

Greek recession eases as tourism slows GDP contraction

Solid revenues from tourism have helped debt-stricken eurozone member Greece curb recession in the second quarter of this year. But experts do not see the country return to growth before next year.

Contraction of the Greek economy during the second quarter was the mildest in three years, the national statistics agency, Elstat, reported Friday. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) dipped by 3.8 percent from levels reached in the same period a year earlier.

The figure came as a surprise because an earlier estimate had predicted a 4.6-percent drop year-on-year; and also after the country logged a 5.6-percent decrease in GDP in the first quarter of 2013.

The slowdown of the downward spiral was attributed to a boom in the tourism industry, with a record number of 17 million holiday-makers expected to visit the southern European country in the course of the year.

Slower recession still means losses

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Greece may need another bailout

Travel agents said the surge in tourists had also been a result of many people shunning northern African nations such as Egypt for security reasons.

Greece's tourism industry expects a turnover jump of 10 percent this year, with the sector accounting for some 17 percent of GDP and providing a fifth of all jobs available nationwide.

The European Commission expected Greece to record a 4.2-percent contraction in 2013, adding that marginal growth would only set in in 2014. Despite the slowing economic slump, the nation is likely to need yet another bailout from international lenders and perhaps a wider debt restructuring scheme, while one more debt straightforward debt haircut is currently not on the table.

hg/ipj (Reuters, AFP, AP)

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