Bolivia cuts 2015 economic growth outlook to 5 pct on slowing investment
LA PAZ, March 11 (Reuters) - Bolivia's government has cut its 2015 economic growth forecast to 5 percent from 5.9 percent due to a slowdown in private sector investment growth, the Andean nation's economy minister said on Wednesday.
Since the election of President Evo Morales in 2006, Bolivia's economy has expanded more than 5 percent a year on average, one of the highest rates in the region.
But the Confederation of Bolivian Private Businesses has expressed concern over the health of the global economy this year and the impact it will have on the land-locked South American nation.
It expects private investment to grow 13 percent to $1.7 billion this year, compared with a 36 percent jump to $1.5 billion in 2014 from the previous year.
This will have an impact on economic growth which will reach "5 percent in 2015, ranking us third in terms of growth rates in the region for the third consecutive year," Economy Minister Luis Arce told reporters.
Arce is widely viewed as the architect of Morales' brand of "indigenous socialism" that has vastly expanded the role of the state in the economy, which is heavily driven by natural gas and mineral exports.
"We had hoped for great investment, that is simply not going to happen," he added. "This will generate lower growth although greater public investment will make up for it somewhat."
The government is planning public investment of more than $6 billion this year.
He also predicted inflation of 5.5 percent this year, up slightly from 5.2 percent in 2014. (Reporting by Daniel Ramos; Writing by Sarah Marsh; Editing by Alan Crosby)
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