FRANKFURT, Nov 14 (Reuters) - Economic growth in Albania in 2009 is likely to surpass recent forecasts made by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and should exceed four percent, the country's central bank chief said on Friday.
The IMF said this month that growth in the Balkan state would probably be in the range of 3.5 to four percent in 2009, but Ardian Fullani told Reuters that the economy should be able to beat such expectations.
"I'm not thinking the IMF is underestimating the growth potential but Albania could have a range from 4 to 4.5 percent," he said in an interview.
The picture would be clearer in the next three to six months, which "will be very crucial for Albania, but we see that Albania could go above four percent in 2009," he said.
Fullani was speaking at the European Central Bank's 5th Central Banking Conference.
Next year would be a testing year for the global economy but Albania was trying to ensure that the right economic incentives were given to cushion any blow, he said.
The central bank was still targeting inflation of around three percent in 2009, he said, adding that current interest rate levels were appropriate for the economy.
Asked if Albania had room to raise interest rates after raising them a few times over the past two years, he said:
"The late decision of the central bank has been to keep the rates where they are," he said.
"We think that they are the right incentives for the economy in this level and we think that keeping the rates unchanged means that our inflation expectation are well anchored in the economy," he said.
(Reporting by Tamora Vidaillet; Editing by Ruth Pitchford and Victoria Main) Keywords: ALBANIA CENTRALBANK/
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