Republic of Congo May Get Out of Recession Next Year

(Bloomberg) -- The Republic of Congo may exit recession by the end of next year after the African nation’s economy expands as much as 3.7 percent in 2019 compared with an estimate of 2 percent in 2018, Finance Minister Calixte Nganongo said.

“Our forecast is based on the visible appreciation of the non-oil sector of our economy which is gradually coming out of recession and going into the growth area for the first time in two years,” Nganongo said Sunday by phone from the capital, Brazzaville.

Revenue collection has also began improving as the government’s fight against fraud and corruption begins bearing fruits, he said.

Congo owes creditors at least $9.14 billion and has been trying to secure funding from the International Monetary Fund since March 2017 to revive an economy that contracted for the past two years as oil prices declined. The IMF has rescheduled board meetings to discuss the package in recent months, without saying why.

“Since we are an oil dependent economy, the game changer is the appreciation of the oil price and we have calculated our 2019 budget based on our oil production capacity of 131.9 million barrels, to be sold at $72 per barrel,” Nganongo said.

The Republic of Congo will sell its crude oil at a lower price of $70 per barrel, he said.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.