UPDATE 1-Ecuador sees 2015 economic growth slowing to 0.4 pct

miércoles 30 de septiembre de 2015 10:45 GYT
 

(Adds quote, background on Ecuadorean economy)

By Alexandra Valencia

QUITO, Sept 30 (Reuters) - The economy of OPEC member Ecuador, hit by the fall in crude prices, will grow just 0.4 percent in 2015, down from 3.8 percent the previous year, the Central Bank said on Wednesday.

Evidencing the slowdown, year-on-year growth in the second quarter of 2015 was 1.0 percent, the bank's head Diego Martinez told reporters. That compared with 3.0 percent year-on-year growth for the first quarter of this year.

President Rafael Correa's left-wing government has already been forced to cut budgets, postpone investments and seek extra financing tied to anticipated oil sales to counter the hit from crude revenues in the Andean nation.

Ecuador has now slashed its growth projections twice this year, from 4.1 percent originally and 1.9 percent mid-year.

The South American nation's dollarized economy means it has been hard hit both by the tumble in commodities prices and the appreciation of the U.S. dollar.

"These phenomena mean the Ecuadorean economy will have a slow year," the bank's Martinez said, referring to both factors.

First elected in 2007, Correa has faced protests this year after attempts to increase capital gains and inheritance taxes, which the government says will only impact the wealthiest.

Still, he remains popular among the poor thanks to welfare programs funded in large part by oil revenues. (Reporting by Alexandra Valencia; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)