ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece's economy shrank at annual pace of 4.6 percent in the second quarter, contributing to a slump of more than 20 percent in real terms since 2008.
The figures were slightly better than economists' average forecast for a 5 percent contraction, but that will be cold comfort for Greeks, who are facing a sixth consecutive year of recession in 2013, as austerity measures have crippled private consumption, the main engine of its economy.
The government and the lenders who have provided the country with bailout funds during the euro zone debt crisis project a 4.2 percent contraction for the full year.
"Recession will decelerate in the third quarter, helped by tourism, and in the fourth, helped by base effects," said Dimitris Maroulis, an economist with Alpha Bank. "That means that recession will not exceed 4.2 percent this year," he added.
Monday's figure brings the Greek economy's contraction in the first half of 2013 to an annual pace of 5.1 percent. Data on quarter-on-quarter changes were not provided.
(Reporting by Harry Papachristou and Renee Maltezou; Editing by Will Waterman)