BISHKEK Jan 15 Kyrgyzstan's gross domestic
product (GDP) expanded by 10.5 percent in 2013, propelled by a
sharp rise in output of the Kumtor gold mine run by Canada's
Centerra Gold, official data showed on Wednesday.
The Central Asian state's GDP shrank by 0.1 percent in 2012
when output at Kumtor, in the Tien Shan mountains near the
border with China, was slashed by ice movement in the pit.
Earlier estimates had put GDP decline at 0.9 percent in 2012.
Gold output at Kumtor grew to 600,402 ounces last year from
315,238 ounces in 2012, according to Centerra Gold data released
Last year's GDP growth was faster than a 7.8 percent rise
forecast by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Without taking Kumtor into account, Kyrgyz GDP would have
grown by 5.8 percent last year, the National Statistics
Committee said in a report.
Kyrgyzstan, a mainly Muslim nation of 5.5 million, remains
one of the poorest former Soviet republics. Kumtor is a major
hard currency earner in a country where per capita GDP is just a
tenth of that in oil-rich neighbour Kazakhstan.
Driven largely by higher gold output, Kyrgyzstan's
industrial output soared by 34.3 percent in 2013 after a
20.2-percent plunge a year earlier.
The government expects GDP to rise 6.9 percent this year.
The IMF sees economic growth at 6.5 percent in 2014, mainly
owing to recovery in gold output.
However, a dispute over the size of Centerra Gold's stake in
Kumtor, Kyrgyzstan's largest gold mine, could cloud bright
growth forecasts. Protests over Centerra's involvement in the
mining operation staged by Kyrgyz nationalists briefly halted
production in May last year.