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Cyprus minister says 2013 GDP fall could be double-digit

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(VILNIUS) - Cypriot Finance Minister Haris Georgiades said on Tuesday the island could suffer a double-digit contraction in GDP this year as a result of swingeing cuts adopted in return for a eurozone bailout.

"Yes, it could be double-digit," Georgiades told a group of reporters reporters from fellow EU member Lithuania.

"The estimate actually is a recession of just less than nine percent -- 8.7, that's the estimate. Once you are into this downwards... you cannot make such an accurate prediction, and minus 8.7 is not too far from two-digits."

To secure a 10-billion-euro EU-IMF rescue package Cyprus has had to severely cut back its bloated banking sector, and businesses struggle to survive without sufficient working capital as the eurozone's first capital controls remain in place.

Cyprus has also pushed through a tough austerity package consisting in tax hikes and public sector spending cuts and job losses.

An IMF report published on Friday forecast that GDP would contract by 8.7 percent this year and 3.9 percent in 2014 before growing by a modest 1.1 percent in 2015.

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