Ecuador says trade deficit drops in 2012

Fri Feb 15, 2013 2:12pm EST

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* Exports rise 7.5 percent to $23.9 billion

* Imports rise 4.7 percent to $24.0 billion

* Gov't trying to limit imports to tackle deficit

QUITO, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Higher oil exports allowed OPEC-member Ecuador to cut its trade deficit in 2012 to $143 million from $687 million the previous year, the central bank said on Friday.

Total exports last year increased 7.1 percent to $23.9 billion, while imports rose 4.7 percent to $24.0 billion, the bank said in a statement.

Oil exports increased 6.5 percent in value and 4.5 percent in volume last year. Meanwhile, shipments of non-oil products rose 7.8 percent in value but dipped 3.2 percent in volume.

Ecuador is OPEC's smallest member and its economic growth depends heavily on oil revenues. Oil output in the Andean nation has been stagnant at around 500,000 barrels per day over the past five years.

Since 2009, the government has been trying to limit imports of car parts, household electronic devices, cellular telephones and other goods to shrink the deficit.