Ecuador Economy May Enter Into Recession This Year, Correa Says

  • Government cut budget for oil projects by about $3 billion
  • State oil companies 'optimizing' oil fields to boost output

Ecuador, an OPEC nation that depends on crude sales for about half of its exports, may enter into recession this year after global oil prices fell, President Rafael Correa said.

“We are revising our growth estimates and it could be that we have no growth this year or that growth contracts,” Correa said Tuesday to reporters in Quito. “We’ve not been able to keep this from impacting the real economy.”

The South American nation began the year forecasting a 4.1 percent economic expansion and an average oil price for its crude exports of $79.70 per barrel. As the rout in global crude prices deepened, the central bank revised its growth estimates down to 1.9 percent in June and now expects oil prices to average about $40 a barrel this year and next.

The government has also cut its budget for lower-priority oil projects by about $3 billion because of liquidity problems, Correa said. Those plans will restart when cash flows improve, he said.

Ecuador, which has seen oil output drop by about 4.2 percent to 537,800 BPD in the first seven months of the year, is “optimizing” engineering plans at state-owned oil fields and will boost output by about 20,000 barrels by the end of the year, Deputy Oil Minister Ernesto Grijalva said at the same event. An additional 25,000 barrels will come online when the Tiputini oil field in the nation’s eastern Amazon region begins producing by the beginning of the second half of next year, he said.

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