Colombia’s finance minister said the impending euro-zone crisis would not deter growth in the Andean nation.
Colombian Finance Minister Juan Carlos Echeverry told the Wall Street Journal that European economic woes would not cause Colombia’s economy to slow but did note the crisis would indirectly affect the country.
“When the sea is agitated all the boats move,” the minister at the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development conference in Paris.
But Echeverry was quick to point out that commodity prices are still strong, which bodes well for Colombia’s main export industries, petroleum and coal. The minister added that the Andean nation has prepared for the European downturn by curbing spending and would be able to launch a stimulus package if needed.
Echeverry said to expect wild swings in the Colombian Peso’s (COP) value over the next 12 to 18 months, but said the currency will likely stay within 1.750 COP to 1.950 COP to the U.S. Dollar.
According to the report, Colombia’s economy contracted from 2008 to 2009 as a result of the European sovereign debt crisis.
European leaders have taken efforts to avert the crisis, but renewed fears that Greece will finally exit the euro-zone have worried investors and destabilized markets.
Echeverry remained positive, saying the resilience of emerging economies, such as Colombia, would dampen the crisis for the euro-zone.
President of Grupo Aval – one of Colombia’s largest banks – Luis Carlos Sarmiento, echoed Echeverry’s optimism earlier this year. “In terms of backlashes, we are not worried because we are solid and have a good portfolio,” Sarmiento said.