(Adds quote on economy, context)
QUITO, Dec 29 (Reuters) - Ecuador’s central bank expects the Andean nation’s economy to grow by 1.42 percent in 2017 with respect to 2016, central bank manager Madeleine Abarca said in a press conference on Thursday.
The country’s economy is seen shrinking by 1.7 percent this year due in part to a 7.8-magnitude earthquake in April that killed more than 660 people.
“Ecuador in 2017 will see growth in its economic activity of 1.42 percent,” said Abarca, adding that a new trade agreement with the European Union and an increase in the price of oil - a key export for the OPEC nation - would help fuel the expansion.
Abarca said the figure was based on an estimated oil price above $40 per barrel.
Ecuador has faced a cash crunch following the 2014 crash in oil prices. Its dollarized economy has also suffered from a strengthening greenback, which has made non-oil exports such as flowers less competitive in foreign markets. (Reporting by Alexandra Valencia, writing by Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and Chris Reese)