Colombia exports climb 46.5% in March

Colombia’s exports rose 46.5% in March compared to the same month a year earlier, driven by high oil prices for shipments from Latin America’s No. 4 crude producer.

The Andean nation’s economy is expected to grow more than 5 percent this year versus 4.3% in 2010 as it continues to recover following the global financial crisis.

Colombia is enjoying a boom in oil and mining investment as security improves after a government crackdown on illegal armed groups. Exports were worth $4.9 billion in March.

The value of exports of crude and oil products rose 96.3 percent in the month to $2.5 billion, the official DANE statistics agency said on Tuesday.

Colombian state oil company Ecopetrol reported a jump in first-quarter oil production last week.

Traditional exports including coal, oil, coffee and ferronickel grew 71.1% overall to $3.3 billion in March, while nontraditional exports such as flowers and chemicals increased 12.5% to $1.6 billion.

Colombia, the world’s fifth-largest coal exporter, saw coal output drop 8.2% to 5.14 million tonnes in March, DANE said, but coal exports rose 7% from a year ago to $500 million.

Colombia usually runs its main trade surpluses with the United States and Venezuela and its key deficits with Mexico and China.

(Reuters)

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