Albania's annual GDP falls 2.3 pct in third quarter

TIRANA Wed Jan 8, 2014 10:37am EST

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TIRANA Jan 8 (Reuters) - Albania's economy shrank 2.3 percent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2013, as output fell in all sectors bar agriculture during a lengthy change of government after a June election.

Output dropped by 10 percent in construction, by 4.6 percent in manufacturing and by 3.4 percent in the trade, hotel and restaurant sector, despite the summer tourist season.

Only agriculture grew in the June-September period, by 2.9 percent compared with the same period last year.

The Q3 contraction in gross domestic product may hurt the Socialist-led coalition government's hopes of securing 1.2 percent growth for the year. The Socialists won a parliamentary election in late June, but procedural rules meant they only took power in September.

Albania's economy posted strong growth of around 6 percent per year from 2000, albeit from a low base. But it began losing steam with the onset of the global economic downturn in 2008 and particularly the acute crises in neighbouring Greece and Italy.

The NATO member posted 1.7 percent growth in 2012. It is forecasting 2.1 percent growth in 2014.

(Reporting By Benet Koleka; Editing by Larry King)

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