(Adds quote on economy, context)
QUITO Dec 29 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)