Reuters Summit-Ecuador’s economy and risks

QUIT0, March 28 (Reuters) – Here are key facts on Ecuador’s
economy:

* Ecuador’s gross domestic product grew an estimated 3.6
percent in 2010, picking up its pace after 0.36 percent growth
in 2009, when it was battered by fallout from the global
financial crisis.

* The central bank estimates the economy could expand by up
to 5.06 percent in 2011.

* Consumer prices rose 0.55 percent in February, slowing
from 0.68 percent the previous month, while twelve-month
inflation through February was 3.39 percent. [ID:nN04164945]

* Unemployment fell to 6.1 percent at the end of last year
from 7.9 percent at the end of 2009, officials said.

* Ecuador adopted the dollar as its currency in 2000, which
helped curb inflation and bring down the cost of borrowing.

* In January, the benchmark interest rate for consumers was
15.94 percent, according to the central bank, unchanged from
the month before.

* Last November, OPEC member Ecuador won better terms from
oil companies that operate in the country, throwing out old
profit-sharing deals in favor of turning foreign operators into
service providers.

The accord followed years of tortuous negotiations which
deterred foreign investment in the oil industry.

* Ecuador has met financing needs via bilateral loans and
credit, mostly from China after it lost access to international
capital markets when it defaulted on $3.2 billion in global
dollar-denominated bonds in December 2008.

* The country may return to the international debt market
with a high-yielding bond issue towards the end of 2011, a
finance ministry official said in December. [ID:nN22113987].

* The country’s trade deficit swelled to $1.5 billion last
year from a deficit of $298.5 million in 2009. In January the
government said it would cut imports of car parts, household
electronic devices, cellular telephones and other goods in a
bid to shrink the deficit. With that measure, it said it aimed
to reduce imports by $500 million to $650 million by 2013.

* Police staged violent protests in September at plans to
cut public sector bonuses. Troops rescued President Rafael
Correa from a hospital where he was surrounded by the
demonstrators, but turmoil revived memories of Ecuador’s
volatile history.

* Private sector sources say September’s political turmoil
could further chill investor sentiment, but so far fears of a
run on banks following the crisis have not materialized.

* Correa, who has been in office since 2007, is keen to
kickstart a nascent mining industry, but has met resistance
from indigenous groups opposed to a law that would let miners
access large quantities of water on their concessions, even if
the land was communally owned.
( Reporting by Daniel Wallis, Edited by W Simon )

Reuters Summit-Ecuador’s economy and risks