QUITO Oct 26 Ecuador's economic growth will
accelerate to as high as 5.1 percent next year, despite less
revenue from the oil industry, and inflation is expected to slow
to 3.2 percent, President Rafael Correa said on Saturday.
Correa's government expects to end this year with growth of
between 3.7 percent and 4.0 percent, and on his weekly TV show
the president said the 2014 forecast was for between 4.5 percent
and 5.1 percent.
"Hopefully we'll manage to reach the higher end, 5.0 percent
GDP growth," said the South American country's socialist leader,
who is also a U.S.-trained economist.
Ecuador's annual inflation rate eased to 1.71 percent in
September, and the government says it is confident of beating
its overall target of 3.93 percent for this year.
Correa said the forecasts for economic performance in 2014
would have been stronger, were it not for ongoing maintenance
work that has stopped the OPEC nation's biggest oil refinery.
A $750 million overhaul of the 110,000 barrel per day (bpd)
Esmeraldas refinery began in September and is expected to take
"Oil income fell again because of the stoppage of the
refinery which we're modernizing," Correa said. "They had to
stop it for several months, and that cut domestic fuel sales."
The president said next year's budget deficit was expected
to be around $5.275 billion, higher than the $5.050 billion
deficit forecast for this year, and that it was fully funded.
Those finances, he added, were destined for infrastructure,
education and health projects. He did not elaborate on next
year's spending plans, nor did he say how the deficit would be
The government has said it plans to issue sovereign debt -
perhaps this year or in the first quarter of 2014 - marking a
return to international debt markets five years after defaulting
on $3.2 billion of sovereign bonds despite being able to pay.
Correa said on Saturday that Ecuador's current level of
indebtedness as a proportion of gross domestic product - 24
percent - was one of the lowest rates in the country's history.