Honduran central bank upgrades 2021 growth forecast

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TEGUCIGALPA, Dec 14 (Reuters) - The Honduran central bank has upgraded its forecast for 2021 economic growth to up to 11%, its president Wilfredo Cerrato said on Tuesday, after the economy was hard hit by the coronavirus and natural disasters last year.

The central bank's latest forecast comes a month after the authority had predicted growth of up to 9% this year. The strongest growth on record in Honduras was 10.5% in 1976, according to figures published by the World Bank.

"We had estimated growth at between 8 and 9%, and after reviewing things again, we anticipate closing 2021 at between 10 and 11%," Cerrato told reporters at an event.

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A bank spokesperson said the higher forecast was the result of the bank's periodic reviews of economic activity, but did not point to any particular factor for the brighter outlook.

The central bank said growth in 2021 was driven by the financial sector, manufacturing, trade, remittances from the United States and booming coffee and palm oil prices.

The Honduran economy contracted 9% in 2020 due the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and back-to-back hurricanes in November of last year.

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Reporting by Gustavo Palencia; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa

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