December 29, 2016 / 9:26 PM / 2 years ago

UPDATE 1-Ecuador economy to grow 1.42 pct in 2017 -central bank

(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)

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