June 30, 2017 / 5:35 PM / a year ago

Ecuador GDP grew 2.6 pct in first quarter of 2017 -central bank

QUITO, June 30 (Reuters) - Ecuador’s economy grew 2.6 percent in the first quarter of 2017, compared to the same period of 2016, because of a rise in exports and increased household consumption, the central bank said on Friday.

The OPEC member has suffered heavily from a fall in oil prices and a major earthquake last year, although the economy appears to be growing for the second consecutive quarter.

“The Ecuadorian economy is on a path of growth. We have already passed the bump ... and the figure ratifies that,” Central Bank director Veronica Artola told reporters.

An agreement last year with the European Union helped boost exports, notably in fish and bananas, Artola said.

Both the oil and non-oil sectors grew, with oil expanding 1.6 percent and non-oil up 2.2 percent.

Ecuador’s economy shrank 1.5 percent in 2016, the first fall in a decade, although authorities are hoping for growth of more than 1 percent in 2017. (Reporting by Alexandra Valencia; editing by Grant McCool)

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