April 11, 2018 / 12:34 PM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 1-Ghana's economy grew by 8.5 pct in 2017 - provisional estimate

(Adds quotes, inflation)

ACCRA, April 11 (Reuters) - Ghana’s economy expanded by 8.5 percent in 2017 - the fastest rate in five years - mainly on the back of increased oil and gas production, according to a provisional estimate announced by the statistics office on Wednesday.

The West African nation recorded economic growth of 3.7 percent in 2016.

Growth in the fourth quarter of 2017 reached 8.1 percent, the statistics office said, compared to 9.7 percent in the third quarter. That third quarter figure was revised upward from 9.3 percent.

Ghana, which exports cocoa and gold, began oil production in late 2010 from its flagship offshore Jubilee field with a daily output of 100,000 barrels.

It recorded its fastest ever growth rate of 14 percent in 2011 and the economy grew by 9.3 percent the following year.

“Oil and gas is the key driver of the growth,” government statistician Baah Wadieh told reporters in the capital Accra.

Oil production grew by 80.4 percent in 2017, he said.

Aside Jubilee, Ghana also produces oil from TEN field and reserves operated by Italy’s Eni which came on stream last year. London-listed Tullow Oil is lead operator for both Jubilee and TEN.

Ghana is in its final year of a $918 million credit deal with the International Monetary Fund to narrow deficit and debt and spur growth.

Annual consumer inflation eased to 10.4 percent in March, from 10.6 percent the previous month, the statistics office said on Wednesday. (Reporting by Kwasi Kpodo Editing by Joe Bavier)

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