An attendant shows an automotive product to a driver in front of a display with new fuel prices at a gas station in Quito, Ecuador, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019. The recent strike that paralyzed the Andean nation for almost two weeks, has left a gaping hole in Ecuador’s economy, this after President Lenin Moreno called back his elimination of fuel subsidies which provoked the violent protests. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)

After ending protests, Ecuador faces dire economic outlook

October 15, 2019 - 5:13 pm
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QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno has survived the toughest political crisis of his presidency by negotiating an end to indigenous anti-austerity protests. Now he faces an even tougher challenge.

Ten years of populist rule and a drop in oil prices have left Ecuador with a $64 billion public debt, which is more than half the gross domestic product, and the government has a $10 billion annual budget shortfall, about a third of the entire budget.

Moreno persuaded indigenous protesters to return home Sunday night by restoring fuel subsidies that cost the government $1.3 billion a year.

The streets were calm Tuesday afternoon, but Moreno and his administration are struggling to figure out how to stabilize the budget, reassure international lenders and put Ecuador on a path of economic sustainability.

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