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banco central del paraguayASUNCION: Paraguay's central bank on Monday raised its outlook for 2013 economic growth to 9.5 percent from between 8.0 percent and 8.5 percent previously, citing an expected jump in soy and grains output.

 

The South American country is seen suffering an economic contraction of 1.5 percent this year, partly from a drought that slashed farm production. Paraguay is the world's No. 4 soy exporter, although it lags far behind the top three suppliers.

 

The central bank forecasts the commodities sector will grow 24.9 percent in 2013 after shrinking an estimated 20.6 percent in 2012.

 

"Basically this is due to a likely 'super harvest' of soy and grains, according to sector estimates, although this is subject to weather conditions, of course," central bank official Miguel Mora told reporters.

 

Beef exports are also expected to rebound next year, when the landlocked country will hold a presidential election, after the appearance of foot-and-mouth disease in late 2011 hurt meat shipments.

 

Paraguay's economy shrank 2.3 percent in the second quarter from a year ago.

 

The government's budget forecasts 8.5 percent growth in 2013, an estimate shared by the International Monetary Fund.

 

Copyright Reuters, 2012

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