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Greece expects economy to grow, finally

Greece’s deputy finance minister, Christos Staikouras, said investments and exports have risen.

ORESTIS PANAGIOTOU/EPA

Greece’s deputy finance minister, Christos Staikouras, said investments and exports have risen.

ATHENS — Greece expects its economy to grow next year — at last.

In its draft budget presented Monday, the government forecast the economy would grow 0.6 percent in 2014, its first annual increase since 2007. This year it is predicted to shrink 4 percent, leaving the economy 25 percent smaller than when it first slid into recession in 2008.

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The government even expects some jobs growth and a continued improvement in the state of the country’s public finances. Deputy Finance Minister Christos Staikouras noted a rise in investment and exports.

Greece’s economy was hit by the global market turmoil in 2008. But its problems multiplied in late 2009, when it revealed that its public debt was far higher than expected as a result of dodgy book-keeping.

Staikouras said four years of hardship and sacrifices ‘‘are beginning to produce a result, creating the first indications of Greece exiting the crisis.’’

Such bold talk would have been unimaginable just over a year ago, when many analysts were expecting Greece to ditch the euro amid political uncertainty and foot-dragging on the reform agenda. Since then, its creditors have eased loan conditions and promised further assistance once Athens achieves a primary budget surplus.

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