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Greek 2016 primary surplus at 3.9% of output: official data

© AFP/File | The eurozone says Greece can deliver a primary surplus of 3.5 percent of GDP in 2018 but the IMF has said only 1.5 percent is feasible

ATHENS (AFP) - 

Greece in 2016 registered a primary surplus of 3.9 percent of output, the statistics agency said Friday, in a key announcement for the country's reform talks with its creditors.

The result -- nearly eight times over a target of 0.5 percent -- comes with Greek officials hoping to reach agreement on reform goals with the creditors in talks that resume next week.

Eurozone nations including Germany want the International Monetary Fund to retain a central role in supervising Greek reforms, but the global lender says it will only do so if it is satisfied that estimates of Greek recovery are not over-optimistic.

The eurozone says Greece can deliver a primary surplus of 3.5 percent of GDP in 2018 but the IMF has said only 1.5 percent is feasible.

In an article in the Wall Street Journal on Friday, leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said the EU-IMF squabble was holding back Greek recovery.

"We have committed to fulfilling the obligations undertaken to our creditors despite the political cost," Tsipras said.

"But the safest way to ensure this is by boosting growth and ending the punishing policies of the past," he said.

© 2017 AFP