Greek farmers protest against new taxation measures in central Athens [Image: Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP/Getty Images].

The standoff between Greece and its creditors has escalated, with the embattled Athens government vowing it will not give in to demands for further cuts as data showed the country’s economy unexpectedly contracting.As thousands of protesting farmers rallied in Athens over spiralling costs and unpopular reforms, the Hellenic statistical authority revealed that Greek GDP shrank by 0.4% in the last three months of 2016.

After growth of 0.9% in the previous three-month period the fall was steep and unforeseen. On Monday the European commission announced that the eurozone’s weakest member was on course to achieving a surplus on its budget of 2.3% after exceeding its 2016 fiscal targets “significantly”.

The setback came as prime minister Alexis Tsipras’ lefist-led coalition said it would not consent to additional austerity beyond the cuts the country had already agreed to administer under its third, EU-led bailout programme.

Source: Greece defies creditors over more cuts as economy shrinks unexpectedly | Business | The Guardian

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