ATHENS, Greece -- Greece has beaten a key bailout target for its public finances, but will still face some painful choices as it tries to negotiate with creditors how much more budget austerity it should impose on its people in coming years.
Greece's independent statistics agency said Friday that the country has posted a high primary budget surplus — that is, excluding debt servicing costs — of 3.9 percent of gross domestic product in 2016.
The surplus figure could provide some relief for the country's left wing government as it struggles to overcome a disagreement with bailout lenders on unfreezing its rescue loans. The country would need new loans by July, when it faces a spike in its debt repayments.
The primary surplus target set by lenders had been 0.5 percent of GDP.