ATHENS, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Greece's economy shrank at an annual 4.5 percent pace in the third quarter as the recession deepened from a 4.0 percent slump in the previous quarter, flash estimates by statistics service (ELSTAT) showed on Friday. Austerity measures to cut deficits, including tax hikes and cuts in public sector pay and pensions, have hurt economic activity, keeping the overborrowed euro zone member in recession for a second straight year. Quarter-on-quarter, Greece's 240 billion euro economy, which makes up about 2.5 percent of the euro zone, shrank 1.1 percent. Economists in a Reuters poll had forecast a contraction rate of 1.4 percent. ************************************************************* KEY FIGURES (pct) Q3 2010 Q2 2010* Q1 2010* Q4 2009* GDP (y/y) -4.5 -4.0 -2.7 -3.2 GDP (q/q) -1.1 -1.7 -0.6 -1.1 -------------------------------------------------------- * revised source: ELSTAT ECONOMIST COMMENT NIKOS MAGGINAS, NATIONAL BANK "Recessionary pressures are intensifying on a yearly basis as domestic demand weakens and this cannot be offset by the relative improvement in exports." "The average decline in economic activity in the first three quarters of 2010, following today's revision (of past data), comes to -3.7 percent. This confirms the EU/IMF and government forecast of a 4.0 percent recession or a touch deeper." DIEGO ISCARO, IHS GLOBAL INSIGHT "Positively, the good performance of exports helped offset the weakness of domestic demand. Going forward, we still expect the Greek economy to struggle for some time as a result of rising employment, extremely challenging credit conditions and tight fiscal policy." "Moreover, the recent appreciation of the euro and an expected deceleration in global demand are expected to hit exports during the last months of the year." GIADA GIANI, CITIGROUP "Greek GDP numbers were somewhat less negative than consensus expectations, although still well below the average for the rest of the euro area." "Upward revisions to previous two quarters also makes the picture look less negative than expected. This leaves GDP on track to post a decline of maybe slightly less than 4 percent, as currently assumed in the official forecast." For more information on Greek macroeconomic data, users of Reuters 300Xtra can access the Greek National Statistics Service homepage at: http://www.statistics.gr (Additional reporting by Tatiana Fragou; Reporting by George Georgiopoulos; Editing by Ruth Pitchford) Keywords: GREECE GDP/ (firstname.lastname@example.org; +30210 3311813; Reuters Messaging:email@example.com) COPYRIGHT Copyright Thomson Reuters 2010. All rights reserved.
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