Colombia’s finance minister said Tuesday his country has been preparing to meet fallout from Europe’s economic crisis, but expects to take a hit.
With a 4.7 percent GDP growth in the first financial quarter, Colombia is well protected against any economic downturn to hit Europe or the United States, Finance Minister Juan Carlos Echeverry said Tuesday.
According to local radio station Caracol, the minister said the government has been saving in previous years to counter economic disappointments in the coming months.
Nevertheless, “we can’t be complacent. We need measures that help the economy in precisely the next six or 12 months. Sectors where such measures must be more effective are agriculture and industry. I see the other sectors growing well,” he told reporters.
“That’s why the government has the feeling that a more competitive exchange rate (and) an interest rate that at some moment could begin to go down could help the economy a lot, in particular agriculture and industry,” said Echeverry.
Colombia’s economic growth rate likely slowed in the second quarter to between 4.3 percent and 4.5 percent versus 4.7 percent in the first quarter, said Echeverry, who is also a member of the central bank’s board of directors.
The monetary authority – which is meeting on Friday to decide on the benchmark interest rate – is also expected to lower its 2012 economic growth estimate, most likely tightening the current 4 percent to 6 percent range, news agency Reuters reported.