The National Business Association of Colombia (ANDI) announced Thursday that the country’s industrial production dropped 5.9% in 2009, while sales fell 3.3%.
ANDI’s president, Luis Carlos Villegas, said that the economic downturn had affected industry across the board, with most sectors experiencing a decline in both production and sales. The worst-affected industries were glass, vehicles, auto parts and rubber products, which saw declines in sales and production levels of over 20%.
Businesses surveyed by ANDI reported that the main problem they faced was the fall in demand, followed by the peso’s exchange rate, and the cost of raw materials. Problems of public order were low down on the list of concerns, with fewer than 1% of businesses citing this as their main concern.
Villegas pointed out that the decline looked less serious when placed in the context of the world recession, with countries such as Spain, Germany and Japan suffering production decreases of over 20% in 2009.
The figures are also moderated by the fact that production and sales figures saw an upturn in the last half of 2009, as the economic situation improved. The first half of the year saw production fall by almost 7%, and sales by 6%.
ANDI emphasised the importance of Colombia’s companies embracing the economic upturn and seizing new opportunities, saying that for Colombia, 2010 will be “a decisive year for economic recovery.”
Figures released by Colombia’s national statistics agency DANE in January demonstrated that the industrial sector is recovering, showing that although employment in the sector fell 6.3% in November compared to the same month in 2008, industrial production, excluding coffee processing, expanded 2% year-on-year.