ASUNCION Dec 20 Paraguay's economy grew 2.0
percent in the third quarter from a year earlier and 3.1 percent
versus the second quarter, which could mark the starting point
for a recovery, the central bank said on Thursday.
The central bank has forecast a 1.5 percent contraction in
gross domestic product (GDP) for 2012, but bank official Miguel
Mora said the third-quarter data could prompt a new estimate
that would be "closer to zero."
In the July-September period, Paraguay's economy got a big
boost from the beef industry as exports regained steam.
Livestock ranching grew 11.4 percent year on year, manufacturing
jumped 9.7 percent and services rose 7.4 percent.
At the same time, activity in the agricultural sector sank
27.6 percent due to a drought that chopped the country's soybean
crop in half. Paraguay is the world's No. 4 soybean exporter
although it lags far behind the top three suppliers.
Paraguay's GDP shrank 2.9 percent year on year in the first
quarter and 2.3 percent in the second quarter. The economy
contracted 1.1 percent from January through September versus the
same period of 2011.
In October, the central bank raised its outlook for 2013
economic growth to 9.5 percent, citing expectations for a big
jump in soy and grains output.
In early December, the International Monetary Fund raised
its forecast for Paraguay's 2013 economic growth to 11 percent,
saying good weather should bump up farm production and a planned
bond issue would likely fill government coffers.