October 6, 2012 / 5:45 PM / in 5 years

UPDATE 1-Ecuador economy grows 5.2 percent in Q2, GDP data revised

* 2011 growth rate raised to 8.0 pct from 7.8 pct

* Construction, fish and seafood farming drive growth

QUITO, Oct 6 (Reuters) - Ecuador’s economy grew 5.2 percent in the second quarter this year versus the same period in 2011, the central bank said on Saturday, as it revised up economic growth figures for the first quarter and full-year 2011.

The central bank revised up economic growth in the first quarter to 6.3 percent from 4.8 percent, while growth in 2011 was raised to 8 percent from 7.8 percent previously.

Meanwhile, GDP growth in 2010 was revised down to 3.3 percent from 3.6 percent previously, and the economic growth rate for 2009 was raised to 1.0 percent from 0.4 percent.

The OPEC country’s central bank announced late last month that it had decided to start calculating gross domestic product using 2007 as its base year instead of 2000.

In addition, the central bank said it is now using a new methodology to measure the size of the country’s economy and is looking at 45 economic sectors, up from 29 previously.

The monetary authority said that the sectors driving growth in the first quarter were construction and the fish and seafood farming industry.

The economy expanded 1.2 percent in the second quarter versus the first three months of the year, while quarter-on-quarter growth for the January to March period was 1.0 percent, the central bank said.

Ecuador is OPEC’s smallest member and produces around 500,000 barrels of crude oil a day. Its economy depends heavily on oil exports.

Higher oil export revenues together with increased tax collection have allowed the government to ramp up welfare spending in recent years, which has spurred economic growth.

The central bank lowered its 2012 growth forecast to 4.8 percent from 5.4 percent after slower than-expected growth in the first quarter, due partly to lower oil revenues, but now the growth rate for the January to March period has been raised by 1.5 percent percentage points.

And the prices paid for Ecuadorean crude have picked up in recent weeks, which suggests that full-year growth could be above target.

The government of leftist President Rafael Correa has failed to diversify the Ecuadorean economy from its dependence on oil exports and the country could suffer if crude prices fall again.

The government has vowed to continue spending heavily to spur growth as it heads toward a presidential election scheduled for February. Correa is expected to run for re-election, but has yet to make an official announcement.

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