The International Monetary Fund's latest, and fifth, report on Greece reads as a warning that the country's rescue programme has arrived in the last-chance saloon. The numbers have deteriorated every time the IMF has added them up and the latest tally is no exception. Hope that 2011 would witness an "inflection point" in the economy have been abandoned. GDP this year will fall by 6% and 2012 is expected to bring a further contraction of 3%. Worse still, the government's target for cutting the budget deficit has been missed by a mile. The aim was 7.5% but the reality, estimates the IMF, will be 9% – better than last year's 10.5%, but not by much. The report comments dryly that the IMF and euro area support programme "has clearly entered a difficult phase".Their solution? Would you believe, more austerity? Utter insanity ...
14 December 2011
Hurting but not working
What did the IMF expect? The Guardian reports: