The Colombian economy expanded at a higher-than-expected 5.1% in the first three months of the year versus the same quarter in 2010, led by increased activity in the booming mining and oil sectors, the government’s statistics agency DANE reported Thursday.
The country’s first quarter gross domestic product growth was higher than the median estimate of 4.7% produced by a Dow Jones Newswires survey of six economists.
The faster economic growth in the first quarter hasn’t spawned major pressures on inflation, which remains anchored right in the middle of the central bank’s 2% to 4% target. Inflation for the 12-month period through May stood at 3.02%.
Mining and quarry was the fastest-growing sector, rising 9.4% last quarter, while agriculture also showed robust activity, growing 7.8%. The construction sector contracted 4.5% last quarter.
The Colombian economy grew 1.9% in the first quarter compared with the fourth quarter of 2010, DANE said.
The central bank forecasts the economy to grow as much as 6% this year, fueled in part by a sharp rise in consumer spending. This would beat 2010 growth, when Colombia’s economy expanded 4.3%.
To prevent the economy from overheating and to keep a lid on inflation, Colombia’s central bank has raised interest rates for the past five months, and the benchmark rate is now at 4.25%.