Colombia posted a trade deficit for a third-straight month in September as the country’s economic recovery and the strong appreciation of the peso drove a boom in purchases abroad that is outpacing exports.
Colombia registered a $491.8 million trade deficit for September, compared with a $179 million surplus a year earlier, the government’s statistics institute, or DANE, reported Friday. The trade deficit widened from August, when it came in at $111.6 million.
The September deficit was result of a surge in imports, which climbed 43% from a year earlier to $3.93 billion. Imports appear to be benefiting from an improved economic landscape in Colombia. Authorities expect the economy to grow 5% this year, in part driven by consumer demand, after expanding 0.8% last year.
Car sales have reached record levels this year, in part because of a boom in foreign manufactured cars. Vehicle and automotive part purchases abroad surged 97%, DANE said.
Another factor driving imports is the appreciation of the peso against the dollar, which makes purchases abroad cheaper for Colombians.
For the first nine months of the year, Colombia reported a $1.32 billion trade surplus. Imports in the January to August period are up 21.8%, to $29.2 billion, from a year earlier. For that period Colombia’s biggest trade surplus was with the U.S. at $4.9 billion, while its biggest trade deficit was with Mexico at $2 billion. (Darcy Crowe / Dow Jones Newswires)