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Source: Reuters
By: Reporting by Hilary Burke and Damian Wroclavsky; editing by Leslie Adler

Argentina's economy grew 8.7 percent in 2007, marking a fifth straight year of growth above 8 percent, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said on Monday.

"These (figures) are not just important because they show money is coming into the country, but also because this growth is beginning to be felt by all Argentines, who are back to work and consuming again," Fernandez said in a televised speech.

Argentina, Latin America's No. 3 economy, has expanded at a sizzling pace since hitting rock bottom during a 2001-02 crisis.

Growth has been fueled by robust consumption levels and strong agricultural exports amid high prices for Argentina's top crops, such as soybeans and corn.

The government has worked to stimulate fast-paced economic growth and job creation, despite inflation concerns. Its economic model is also based on hefty trade and primary budget surpluses, a weak currency and plentiful foreign reserves.

Private analysts had estimated last year's gross domestic product growth at around 8.5 percent.

The government will report December and annual growth figures on Feb. 20, in its release of the EMAE economic activity index data. Quarterly and annual GDP figures are not due out until mid-March.

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