Greece applauded for action on debt

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International inspectors applauded Greece's efforts to exit its debt crisis yesterday, endorsing a fresh €9bn (£7bn) payment from an EU/IMF bailout scheme, but urged reforms in energy, banking and the public sector. In their most positive assessment so far, IMF, ECB and European Commission officials said Athens is likely to meet this year's deficit cutting target, though risks remained.

Analysts said Greece may come close or even meet a target to cut its budget deficit from 13.6 per cent of GDP in 2009 to 8.1 per cent this year. But despite the government's more optimistic views of a milder than expected recession, the IMF and the EU said the economy is still likely to shrink by 4 per cent.