UPDATE 1-Bangladesh’s economic growth hit record 7.28 pct in FY 2016-17

Last Updated: Tue, Nov 14, 2017 19:00 hrs

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DHAKA, Nov 14 (Reuters) - Bangladesh's economic growth hit a record 7.28 percent in the financial year ending June 2017, slightly faster than the 7.24 percent expected and up from 7.11 percent the previous year, Planning Minister Mustafa Kamal said on Tuesday.

Bangladesh aims to boost growth to 7.4 percent in the current financial year.

"We are hopeful of achieving 8 percent growth by 2019," he told a news conference. The agricultural sector grew 2.90 percent, manufacturing grew 10.22 percent and the services sector grew 6.69 percent.

Garment exports and remittances from Bangladeshis working overseas are the key drivers of the country’s $250 billion economy.

Bangladesh’s exports in the 2016-17 financial year rose nearly 1.7 percent from a year earlier, but that was the slowest growth in 15 years, while pivotal garment sales posted only 0.2 percent growth.

Remittances are Bangladesh’s second-biggest source of foreign income, after garments, but they fell 14.5 percent in the last financial year, to $13 billion, largely because of the impact of lower oil prices.

The central bank left key interest rates unchanged in July, saying it was trying to balance economic growth and inflation risks.

The South Asian country's economy grew by an average of more than 6 percent a year during the past decade but economists say it requires at least 8 percent growth to become a middle-income country by 2021. (Reporting by Ruma Paul; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg)

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