Ecuador's economy to grow around 4 pct in 2013, Correa says

GUAYAQUIL, Ecuador Thu Dec 19, 2013 10:47pm EST

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GUAYAQUIL, Ecuador Dec 19 (Reuters) - Ecuador's economy will grow around 4 percent this year while inflation will remain below 3 percent, President Rafael Correa said on Thursday, adding GDP in 2014 will likely expand 5 percent.

"The year 2013 has been a good one for the economy," Correa told reporters in the port city of Guayaquil.

The year's expected growth is slightly lower than the 2012 figure of 5 percent. Ecuador's currency has been the U.S. dollar since 2000.

The smallest member of OPEC has spurred growth in recent years through aggressive public investment in infrastructure and social programs, giving Correa strong political support and helping him win a landslide re-election this year.

Correa said Ecuador will make heavy investments in the next two years including an overhaul of the 110,000 barrel per day Esmeraldas refinery and the construction of hydroelectric dams meant to reduce reliance on thermoelectric power.

By 2016, the country will see cost savings as a result of reduced fuel imports, Correa said. (Reporting by Yury Garcia; Writing by Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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