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Zimbabwe Economy to Expand as Much as 9% in 2012, Biti Says

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Oct. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Zimbabwe’s economy will probably expand as much as 9 percent next year, led by increased agricultural and mining production, Finance Minister Tendai Biti said.

The southern African nation’s economy is estimated to grow 9.3 percent this year, Biti said in a pre-budget statement to parliament handed to reporters today in Harare, the capital. Exports may climb 11 percent to $4.6 billion next year, helping to cut the current account deficit to $1.2 billion, he said.

The southern African nation is recovering from a political crisis and decade of economic decline that ended in 2009 when President Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front and the Movement for Democratic Change, led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, formed a power-sharing government. Zimbabwe has the world’s second-biggest reserves of platinum and chrome after neighbor South Africa and its exports also include gold, diamonds and tobacco.

Government spending will probably jump to $3.4 billion next year from the $2.7 billion for 2011 that was forecast in the budget, Biti said. Inflation is estimated to average 3.7 percent this year, accelerating to 5 percent in 2012, he said.

Biti will present the 2012 budget next month.

To contact the reporter on this story: Godfrey Marawanyika in Johannesburg at gmarawanyika@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net

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