Wednesday 19 February 2014 5:49 am

Greece posts first current account surplus since records began

Greece has reached a current account surplus for the first time in 66 years, according to figures released on Wednesday by the Bank of Greece.

The troubled EU nation posted a current account surplus of €1.2bn (£1bn) in January-December last year – compared to a deficit of €4.6bn the previous year.

The Greek central bank attributed the development primarily to a fall in the trade deficit of €2.4bn and to increases in the current transfers and services surpluses by €3bn and €1.7bn respectively. However, the country saw an increase in the income account deficit.

Tourism has been one of Greece's saving graces – jumping 15 per cent to €12bn. At the same time, travel spending by residents abroad remained flat.

The news of the first current account surplus since records began in 1946, will be welcomed by the Mediterranean economy, which is still suffering cripplingly high levels of unemployment.

In November, Greek unemployment rose to 28 per cent of the labour force, according to the Hellenic Statistical Authority. The proportion of people out of work and looking increased by 0.3 percentage points, leaving 1.38m people in Greece unemployed.

Greek youth unemployment is still amongst the worst in Europe, at 61.4 per cent in November.