To limit a threat to Europe's single currency, its leaders have agreed to extend the country a second bailout, this time worth euro130 billion ($172 billion), which is accompanied by the debt reduction deal.
So far, the eurozone has agreed in principle to release the first batch of bailout loans to Greece to finance the bond-swap, with the final green light to due till come next week.
But harsh austerity has pushed the country into a fifth year of recession and seen the unemployment rate reach nearly 21 percent.
Earlier Friday, provisional figures from the finance ministry figures showed Greece posting a deficit in January of euro490 million ($652 million), in contrast to last year's equivalent surplus of euro154 million.The ministry's General Accounting Office said revenues during the month were hit by the expiry of a one-off business tax, as well as reduced revenues from consumption. Revenues in January totaled euro4.87 billion ($6.48 billion). Though a little bit better than the government's latest target, it's markedly worse than last year's equivalent of euro5.12 billion. ___ AP writer Elena Becatoros contributed.
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