Greece’s central government achieved a primary budget surplus of 17 million euros in January versus a targeted deficit, thanks to higher revenues and lower spending, finance ministry data showed on Tuesday.
The government had targeted a primary budget gap — which excludes debt-servicing costs — of 1.14 billion euros for the first month of the year.
Greece will repay the final tranches of bailout loans owed to the International Monetary Fund by the end of March, two years ahead of schedule, Finance Minister Christos Staikouras told Reuters on Monday.
The country, which received more than 260 billion euros in bailout loans from the European Union and the IMF during its decade-long financial crisis, has relied solely on bond markets for its financing needs since exiting its third bailout in 2018.
Since then, it has also made several early repayments to the IMF and now owes 1.9 billion euros ($2.15 billion) in loans due by 2024, the last batch of a total 28 billion euros that the Washington-based Fund provided between 2010 and 2014.
“Greece has officially submitted a request for the full repayment of the outstanding balance of its IMF loans. The relevant procedure has been launched and is expected to be completed at the end of March,” Staikouras said in an interview.
Greece remains the euro zone’s most indebted nation, with public debt seen at almost 190% of gross domestic product this year. The repayment is expected to help Athens reduce the debt by about one percentage point and save about 50 million euros in interest rate payments.