Ecuador bank chief predicts 6% growth for 2003

ECUADOR - Ecuador's economy is set to expand by six per cent next year, up from four per cent growth this year, the country's central bank president, Mauricio Yepez, predicted on Friday.

Mr Yepez attributed the spike in growth to a $1.1bn private pipeline project, which is expected to begin pumping crude from Amazonian oil fields to a Pacific ocean port by the middle of next year.

Six international oil companies, including Spain's Repsol-YPF and Occidental of the US, last week passed the halfwa