Greece's 2012 deficit revised down, Ireland's up - Eurostat

Reuters

* Greece's 2012 deficit at 9.0 pct/GDP from 9.5 pct in 2011

* Ireland's gap revised up to 8.2 pct, down from 13.1 pct in2011

* Growth rates had no impact on revision, Eurostat says

BRUSSELS, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Greece's budget deficit wassmaller by one percent of gross domestic product last year thanearlier thought, the European Union's statistics office Eurostatrevised data showed, while Ireland's gap was bigger thanoriginally reported in April.

Deficit in debt-troubled Greece, on route to exit six yearsof recession next year and reach primary surplus this year, was9.0 percent of GDP, down from the previously reported 10.0percent and down from 9.5 percent in 2011.

The revision came as a result of updated to deficit figuresand not because of a bigger impact of economic growth, Eurostatsaid.

Ireland, expected to successfully conclude and exit aninternational financial aid programme by the end of the year,had a deficit of 8.2 percent last year, compared with 7.6percent reported in April.

It was, however, well below the revised 13.1 percent gap in2011.

The 17 countries sharing the euro have made fiscalconsolidation their top priority, not just for countriesreceiving external help - Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Cyprus andSpain - in order to help restore investor confidence in the 9.5trillion euro economy.

The euro zone as a whole had a budget deficit of 3.7 percentin 2012, down from 6.4 percent in 2009, but its debt rose to 8.6trillion euros in 2012, or 90.6 percent of GDP, from 7.1trillion euros or 80 percent in 2009, Eurostat said.

The single currency area returned to modest growth of 0.3percent quarter-on-quarter in the second quarter of this yearafter contracting in the previous 18 months, but the nascentrecovery remains uneven as the southern periphery countriesundergo a painful structural change.

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