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Tourist influx helps Cyprus post solid third-quarter growth

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Nicosia (AFP)

A tourism boom helped the Cyprus economy grow by 0.9 percent in the third quarter, extending a recovery from a crisis that required an international bailout in 2013, official data showed on Friday.

Gross domestic product (GDP) rose for an 11th consecutive quarter, although at a slightly slower pace than the one-percent growth seen in the previous three-month period.

Year-on-year the economy of the eurozone member grew 3.9 percent in the third quarter, according to an official estimate.

The Mediterranean island's economy almost collapsed in 2013 but it has remained in positive territory since the fourth quarter of 2014 and is one of the fastest growing economies in Europe.

Cyprus has smashed its tourist arrival records this year, with the total reaching 3.4 million at the end of October, helped by the country's reputation as a regional safe haven.

The state statistical service on Friday reported positive growth rates in manufacturing, trade, hotels and restaurants, and construction.

But there was a contraction in financial and insurance activities in the third quarter.

The troika of international lenders -- the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund -- bailed out Cyprus for 10 billion euros in March 2013 to prevent a banking collapse.

Cyprus in return agreed to a harsh austerity programme but the country exited from the bailout -- relatively quickly -- in 2016.

Finance Minister Harris Georgiades said last week he expected the Cypriot economy to grow by four percent this year and by more than three percent a year from 2018 to 2020.

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