Colombia posted a trade deficit in November 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 $161.1 million trade deficit for November, compared with a $181 million surplus in the same month a year earlier, the government’s statistics institute, or DANE, reported Tuesday. Colombia’s trade balance swung to a deficit from October, when it came in at $150.7 million surplus.
The November deficit was result of a surge in imports, which climbed 34.5% from a year earlier to $3.8 billion. Imports appear to be benefiting from an improved economic landscape in Colombia. Authorities expect the economy to have grown at least 4% in 2010, largely driven by consumer demand, after expanding 0.8% in 2009.
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 81.4%, DANE said.
Another factor driving imports is the appreciation of the peso against the dollar, which makes purchases abroad cheaper for Colombians.
For the period of January through November, Colombia reported a $1.39 billion trade surplus. Imports in the January-November period are up 34.5%, to $26.7 billion, from a year earlier. During that period Colombia’s biggest trade surplus was with the U.S. at $6.23 billion, while its biggest trade deficit was with Mexico at $2.7 billion.