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Statement by IMF mission to El Salvador

14
Mar '07
The following statement was issued on March 13 in San Salvador by Mr. Dominique Desruelle, Mission Chief for El Salvador of the International Monetary Fund (IMF):

"An IMF mission visited El Salvador during March 6-9 to discuss recent economic developments and macroeconomic policies. The mission met with Technical Secretary of the Presidency Eduardo Zablah Touché, Finance Minister William Handal, Economy Minister Yolanda de Gavidia, Central Bank President Luz Maria Serpas de Portillo, and other senior government officials. The mission thanks the authorities for the warm welcome and close cooperation it has received during its stay in El Salvador.

"The Salvadoran economy has strengthened during the last year, with output growth of 4¼ percent in 2006. Inflation rose to 5 percent, reflecting a sharp mid-year increase in the prices of petroleum products. Robust growth in nontraditional exports and remittances offset a decline in maquila exports, a higher oil import bill, and rising capital goods imports, thus maintaining the current account deficit at 4¾ percent of GDP.

"The outlook for 2007 is favorable, with growth expected to be supported by investment and non-traditional exports. Lower oil prices should help bring along a reduction in inflation. The external current account deficit would be stable, with a reduction in the oil import bill compensating higher imports of investment goods.

"The mission concurred with the authorities that a core challenge is sustaining a high rate of economic growth over the medium term and bringing about a marked reduction in poverty, while concurrently enhancing the economy's resilience to shocks. To achieve these objectives, the Salvadoran authorities are appropriately focusing on strengthening public finances and the financial system, boosting El Salvador's integration in the global economy, and promoting innovative social programs.


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