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Africa Ecuador's economy has seen growth trend

         Date: 2012-03-31

           Tag: Africa economy, Africa economy Ecuador

Summary: Ecuador's economy grew 7.8 percent in 2011 from a year earlier as stronger oil prices helped OPEC's smallest member double its growth rate from 2010, the central bank said on Friday.

 Ecuador's economy grew 7.8 percent in 2011 from a year earlier as stronger oil prices helped OPEC's smallest member double its growth rate from 2010, the central bank said on Friday.

The expansion was the fastest under President Rafael Correa, whose welfare programs and liberal state spending have boosted his popularity. Still, growth was slower than the government's forecast of more than 9 percent.

In the fourth quarter of 2011, the economy grew 6.1 percent, compared with the same period a year earlier.

The Andean nation forecasts that gross domestic product will expand 5.4 percent in 2012, compared with 3.6 percent in 2010 and 0.4 percent in 2009.

Correa's administration has vowed to continue spending heavily this year, helped by higher oil export revenue and tax collection, to spur growth ahead of the country's presidential election in February 2013.

Correa is expected to run for re-election but has yet to make an official announcement. Higher spending on roads, hospitals and schools has been the centerpiece of his economic policy since he took office in 2007.

The downside has been that consumer prices rose 5.41 percent last year, above 2010's 3.33 percent rate, making some goods less accessible for middle-class Ecuadoreans already widely disenchanted with Correa's leftist policies.

The adoption of the U.S. dollar as Ecuador's currency in 2000, in the aftermath of a debt default, limits the central bank's monetary policy tools to fight inflation.


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