Greece beating budget target, eyes surplus

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras speaks at a health conference in Athens on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013. The two-day conference focuses on reforming Greece's state health sector amid the country's acute debt crisis. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece says it beat its budget targets in the first 11 months of the year and is on track to achieve a modest primary surplus — that is, excluding the cost of servicing its crushing debt burden — for the full year.

A finance ministry statement on Thursday says preliminary figures for January-November show a budget deficit of 3.2 billion euros, better than the target of 4.3 billion euros. The ministry said it achieved a primary surplus of 1.2 billion euros.

These figures exclude data for local government and certain other areas of state spending

The government hopes to post a primary surplus this year, a key condition to qualify for further debt relief from its European partners.

Greece has been kept from bankruptcy by international bailouts since 2010.