Greece Hits a Bailout Target. The IMF Is Not Convinced

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Greece achieved a 2016 primary surplus almost seven times higher than its bailout target, but the International Monetary Fund is skeptical the country can sustain that performance, Bloomberg News reported. The Hellenic Statistical Authority is set on Friday to unveil data on last year’s primary surplus, which Eurostat is expected to validate on Monday. The surplus will be close to 4 percent of gross domestic product, according to a finance ministry official who asked not to be identified in line with policy. The bailout target was for a primary surplus of 0.5 percent of GDP. In spite of its better-than-expected primary surplus last year, the IMF is not convinced Greece will be able to maintain that level of performance for 2018 and beyond. The fund estimates that at least half of the primarily surplus for 2016 came from one-off measures rather than structural changes that will continue delivering results in the years to come, according to a person familiar with its analysis. That has prompted the fund to demand more austerity measures. Greece’s level of primary surplus is key in determining the kind of debt relief it will need. Read more.