Turkmenistan's economic growth speeds up to 6.5 pct in 2017 - president

ASHGABAT, Jan 27 (Reuters) - The economy of ex-Soviet republic of Turkmenistan grew by 6.5 percent last year, accelerating from a 6.2 percent increase in 2016, Turkmen President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov said at a televised government meeting on Saturday.

He said growth was achieved thanks to rising volumes of exports, which grew by 6.6 percent last year. Turkmenistan exports natural gas to China, and hopes to boost sales of the fuel to the world's largest energy consumer. (Reporting by Marat Gurt; Writing by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Mark Potter)