UPDATE 1-Greece says Q1 central govt deficit down 40% y/y

* Greek central government deficit narrows 40 pct y/y

* Figures different from EU’s ESA 95 standards

* Minister says figures prove Greece meeting fiscal targets

(Adds details, further quotes)

ATHENS, April 8 (BestGrowthStock) – Greece’s central government
deficit narrowed at an annual pace of 40 percent in the first
three months of the year, showing Greece is meeting its fiscal
consolidation pledge, the finance minister said on Thursday.

The debt-stricken Mediterranean state is struggling to
convince financial markets it can slash its wide public finance
deficit and pull itself out of a fiscal tailspin without
resorting to outside help.

It has pledged to cut its total public deficit by almost a
third to 8.7 percent of gross domestic product this year,
although the figures released on Thursday referred to the
central government gap and not the general government shortfall
measured under the euro zone’s ESA 95 rules.

“The first quarter deficit in 2010 declined to 4.3 billion
euros ($5.7 billion), from 7.1 billion in the first quarter of
2009,” Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou told parliament
without giving further details.

The data exclude social security and local governments and
therefore do not offer a complete picture of public finances.

The deficit narrowed even before spending cuts and tax
increases, decided as part of an austerity package last month,
kicked in, Papaconstantinou said.

“It proves that the government is fully on track to meet the
8.7 percent of GDP deficit target in 2010,” Papaconstantinou
said without giving further details.

For the first two months of the year, the central government
budget deficit narrowed at an annual rate of 77 percent, boosted
by a one-off tax on big corporations.

Investment Analysis
(Reporting by Harry Papachristou; editing by Michael
Winfrey/Ruth Pitchford)

UPDATE 1-Greece says Q1 central govt deficit down 40% y/y