Colombia’s industrial production, excluding coffee processing, expanded
0.4% in March from the same month in 2008, the first rise since August
last year when industrial production started contracting.
A total of 21 of the 48 industrial subsectors rose in March, government statistics department DANE added.
Employment in the industrial sector fell 6.1% in March from the same month in 2008.
Industrial production in the first quarter of the year contracted 7.5%.
In the 12-month period through March, industrial production shrank 5.5%.
Cesar Tovar, head of research at local brokerage Nacional de
Valores, who was expecting a 2% contraction in March, said that a
four-percentage-point interest-rate cut since December is gradually
bolstering the economy.
The Colombian central bank reversed a restrictive monetary policy
in December, when it cut its key rate to 9.50% from 10%. The key rate
currently stands at 6%. The central bank’s board said Friday conditions
exist to continue cutting rates in 2009. (Dow Jones)