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Liberia Central Bank Says Economic Growth to Slow on Mining

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June 27 (Bloomberg) -- Liberia’s economy will expand at a slower pace this year as growth in the iron-ore mining industry has eased, according to the country’s central bank.

Economic growth will probably slow to 5.9 percent from 8.7 percent last year “due to the slowdown in the growth pace of the mining sector,” Jefferson Karmo, the Central Bank of Liberia’s acting head of the research, policy and planning department, said in an interview. Inflation jumped to 8.8 percent in the first five months of the year from an average 7.6 percent last year, he said.

The West African nation gets most of its income from mining, with ArcelorMittal, OAO Severstal and China Union operating iron-ore mines in the country. Gold and diamonds are produced by small-scale miners, with diamond output reaching 17,623 carats in the first quarter, according to central bank data.

Increased iron-ore output and an acceleration in public and private investment helped propel growth in Liberia last year, the International Monetary Fund said in April. Sesa Sterlite Ltd. will cut the size of its iron-ore project in Liberia by 80 percent after approval delays halted plans to build infrastructure.

The Liberian dollar has gained 6.6 percent against the U.S. dollar this year. Both currencies are widely used among the population of about 4 million people.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elise Zoker in Johannesburg at ezoker@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net Sarah McGregor, Michael Gunn

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