Colombia has overtaken Argentina and is now Latin America’s third largest economy after Brazil and Mexico, claimed outgoing Finance Minister Juan Carlos Echeverry Friday.
According to the outgoing minister, Colombia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) outgrew both that of Venezuela and Argentina in the two years since President Juan Manuel Santos took office. “This was a dream,” the minister told radio station Caracol.
In an interview with newspaper El Tiempo, Echeverry said Colombia’s GDP is expected to grow to $363 billion while that of Argentina is expected to reach $347 billion.
“Colombia is going forward with great momentum. We are doing well and moving forward,” the minister said.
According to the World Bank, Colombia’s GDP was $322 billion in 2011, while that of Argentina was $446 billion.
According to the Financial Times, Echeverry is not using the official currency rate of the Argentine peso of 4.65/dollar, but the black market rate which has grown to 6.37/dollar over currency restrictions imposed by the administration of Cristina Fernandez.
“Obviously the right rate is not 4.50. But it’s not 6.40 either. It’s hard to determine the point of equilibrium for the exchange rate in the long term, but it’s probably between the two extremes,” an Argentine economist told the U.K. newspaper.
According to the Times, Colombia has not overtaken the Argentine economy yet, “but it’s closing fast. And if Argentina doesn’t fix it economic distortions quickly, it will soon find Colombia speeding by.”