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Greek economy to shrink up to 13% due to coronavirus, finance minister says - Metro US

Greek economy to shrink up to 13% due to coronavirus, finance minister says

FILE PHOTO: Impact of COVID-19 outbreak on island of Santorini

ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece’s economy may shrink 10 to 13% this year following a lockdown imposed to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus, but the government will take steps to mitigate the impact, the country’s finance minister said on Wednesday.

Finance Minister Christos Staikouras told Greek radio Real FM that the economy, which emerged from a decade-long debt crisis and three international bailouts in 2018, can withstand a possible second wave of infections in autumn.

The conservative government will support businesses and protect jobs, he said, and plans to take measures that could contain the estimated recession by as much as 8 points.

“We aim for the economy to gradually return to the dynamic it had before the health crisis, in February,” Staikouras said.

The pandemic dashed Greek hopes for strong growth this year.

Greece is now considering a sales tax cut to 13% from 24% for restaurants and cafes as part of plans to reboot its tourism-dependent economy. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will outline his plan to revive the economy later on Wednesday.

The Mediterranean country has so far managed to contain the spread of the coronavirus at relatively low levels compared with other EU countries. It has recorded 2,840 infections and 165 fatalities since its first case surfaced in late February.

(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou and Renee Maltezou, editing by Larry King)

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