October 6, 2018 / 10:28 PM / 9 months ago

Congo Republic approves 2019 budget with GDP growth forecast of 3.7 pct

BRAZZAVILLE, Oct 6 (Reuters) - Congo Republic’s government said on Saturday it plans to raise spending next year to 2.3 trillion CFA francs ($4.06 billion) compared with 1.6 trillion CFA francs in 2018.

In a statement announcing the budget proposal, government spokesman Thierry Moungalla forecast that the economy would grow 2 percent this year and 3.7 percent in 2019.

Congo’s economy is recovering after it was hit hard by low crude oil prices as it struggled under the weight of more than $9 billion in debt, which exceeds its gross domestic product (GDP). That forced the African nation to seek a bailout from the International Monetary Fund.

Its creditors, which include commodity trading houses Trafigura and Glencore PLC, are keenly watching for signs of an improvement to the country’s economic fortunes.

In July, the central African country reported a rebound in economic growth in the first quarter to 1.9 percent, following a 2.6 percent decline for all of 2017, due to improved oil prices and production.

$1 = 566.2000 CFA francs Reporting by Christian Elion Writing by Alessandra Prentice; editing by Bill Berkrot

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