(Corrects investment sum mentioned by president throughout)
* President says world economic outlook for 2013 poor
* Latest growth data came in below expectations
MONTEVIDEO, Dec 4 Uruguay's government will
channel $2.5 billion in infrastructure investments through
state-run companies next year to help limit the impact of a
global slowdown on the nation's small economy, President Jose
Mujica said on Tuesday.
Uruguay's gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to grow
by 4 percent this year and in 2013, according to official
forecasts, but expansion was slower than expected in the second
quarter and sluggish growth in larger neighbors Brazil and
Argentina is hurting.
Mujica, a former leftist guerrilla leader who has stuck to
fairly orthodox economic policies, said the outlook for the
world economy next year remained poor and that action was
required to soften the impact.
"State companies are going to invest like never before in
the country's history. And that's no coincidence. For a while
we've been seeing there could be a trend toward slower growth,"
Mujica told an event organized by the nation's labor federation.
"It will be time for public companies, responding to the
country's needs, to make positive investments in the country's
future," he added.
The $2.5 billion has been earmarked for projects that
include the extension of the fiber-optic cable network to
households, construction of a regasification plant and a thermal
power station, railway infrastructure and port developments.
It will not include ongoing investment in oil exploration,
Despite slower growth rates, nagging inflation remains a
concern for policymakers in Uruguay. Consumer prices rose 9.03
percent in the 12 months through November, slowing a touch from
October's 9.11 percent 12-month reading, but still outside the
central bank's target range of between 4.0 percent and 6.0
(Reporting by Felipe Llambias, writing by Helen Popper; Editing
by Peter Galloway)