UPDATE 1-Venezuela economy grows faster in second quarter

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CARACAS, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Venezuela’s economy grew 7.1 percent in the second quarter, in a telecoms- and construction-led rebound from a slowdown earlier in the year, the central bank said on Tuesday.

The OPEC nation’s non-oil sector grew by 7.8 percent while the oil sector grew 3.2 percent, the bank said.

“Construction rebounded in the second quarter, showing a variation of 11.7 percent,” the central bank said in a statement. “In the private sector the growth is due to home building and non-residential works.”

In the first quarter of 2008, growth slowed to 4.8 percent as the government tried to rein in Latin America’s highest inflation.

The communications sector, partly in the hands of the government, grew by 24.6 percent in the second quarter, the bank said.

Venezuela also posted positive balance of payments figures, with the second quarter current account surplus reaching $16.8 billion, up from a $5.8 billion surplus in the same period a year earlier, on soaring oil income.

The capital account deficit reached $12.8 billion compared to a $12.3 billion deficit in the second quarter of 2007. (Reporting by Brian Ellsworth, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)