International crisis slows Colombia’s manufacturing industry

The international economic crisis slowed down Colombia’s manufacturing industry, resulting in an increase of just over 1% in the first half of 2012, compared to 6.5% in the same period last year, according to a survey by Colombian businesses released Thursday.

“This is the first semester that is fully influenced by the international crisis and the revaluation [of the peso],” said the president of the National Association of Colombian Businesses (ANDI), Luis Carlos Villegas. “However, compared to other countries, the situation is still favorable and if it [the international market] doesn’t get worse, we can still grow.”

While production and orders were high in the first quarter of the year, sales in the manufacturing industry decelerated in the second quarter with an overall increase of 3.2% compared to 6.4% in the first six months of 2011, according to the Coordinated Survey of Industrial Opinion released by ANDI.

According to Colombian manufacturers, the biggest barriers to growth are the current exchange rate, high costs of raw materials and low demand. Since the beginning of 2012, Colombia’s exports decreased by 1.2% while the national market grew by 0.4%.

At the end of July, Villegas said the economic downturn could have been avoided if the government would have implemented more effective strategies aimed at curbing the negative effects of the global market, such as cutting high interest rates.

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