Congo Republic to cut 2018 spending by 9 pct as growth lags

BRAZZAVILLE, Dec 27 (Reuters) - Congo Republic's government plans to cut spending next year by 8.6 percent to 1.38 trillion CFA francs ($2.5 billion), it said on Wednesday, following a 45 percent cut to the 2017 budget this month, as it seeks an International Monetary Fund bailout.

Government spokesman Thierry Moungalla also said in a statement that the economy would contract by 4.6 percent in 2017 due to low oil prices but should recover to grow by 0.7 percent in 2018 as crude production picks up at a new oil field.

($1 = 552.49 CFA francs) (Reporting by Christian Elion; Writing by Aaron Ross; Editing by Alison Williams)