Resentment across Greece remains high. Farmers are threatening to block highways throughout the country to protest new tax laws, while state media have been on strike for the past two days. Brief clashes broke out with riot police in central Greece Tuesday, when farmers who have lined up some 1,500 tractors near a main highway tried to block the road on foot.
The government insists that the austerity is working, with provisional figures showing that it reduced last year's budget deficit to the targeted 6.6 percent of annual output and achieved a modest primary surplus.
Fitch ratings agency said Tuesday that the Greek economy appears to be "rebalancing," but warned that further structural reforms will be needed.
"Greece, which had the highest peak deficit of any eurozone country, has done the most to balance its books," a Fitch statement said. "However, it still has a long way to go before debt starts to fall and it complies with" European Union deficit regulations.Meanwhile, Athens on Tuesday saw its borrowing costs dip slightly in an auction of 26-week Treasury bills. The public debt management agency said it raised â¿¬812 million ($1.1 billion) at an interest rate of 4.27 percent â¿¿ compared to 4.3 percent in last month's auction. Although unable to raise money by selling long-term debt, Greece maintains a market presence through regular short-term Treasury bill auctions. ___ Derek Gatopoulos in Athens and Costas Kantouris in Thessaloniki contributed.