Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos touted Colombia’s “healthy” economy in a forum Friday morning, pointing to high growth and low inflation as signs of sustainable progress.
The president, who is running for re-election in May, said 2013 growth was among the highest in Latin America, but did not feature the high inflation and increased in cost of living that often accompanies it.
On Thursday, Colombia’s national government Colombia’s National Department of Statistics (DANE) reported that Colombia’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 4.9% during the final fiscal quarter of 2013, contributing to total economic growth of 4.3%.
“All this is due to governance. But how do you define that governance? As the ability to make timely reforms,” Santos said.
“The reform’s we made have been a kind of straitjacket that forces Colombia ahead to maintain fiscal discipline. Now confidence is being generated in the international markets and allows us to lower the cost of our debt and to access international markets much more easily.”
|“Indeed we have the lowest inflation in Latin America, 1.94% for 2013. This is growth that is generating employment and formal employment.”|
“Indeed we have the lowest inflation in Latin America, 1.94% for 2013,” Santos said, “This is growth that is generating employment and formal employment,” he said.
Colombia, recorded an unemployment rate of 9.64% for 2013. As recently as 2001, that figure was over 15%.
Colombia: the place to invest.
“Last week Bloomberg polled all analysts of investment funds, banks and asked them what is the country in Latin America they thought will have the best economic performance this year, and the answer was: Colombia,” said the president
Santos also mentioned that two days ago the investment bank JP Morgan updated its index on which foreign debt it recommends investors buy. It recommended a tripling of Colombian bonds in the portfolio.
All but one sector of the Colombian economy grew in 2013. The construction sector saw a full 9.8% increase from 2012, and the service and agriculture industries grew 5.3% and 5.2%, respectively. Oil continues to make up a large sector of the Colombian economy, accounting for 46% of Colombia’s total exports from January to July 2013.
Manufacturing, meanwhile, has declined each of the past two years, leading to a 1.2% drop in proportion of GDP from 2012.
Colombia’s 2013 economic growth is only slightly shy of last year’s International Monetary Fund (IMF) prediction of 4.5%, but higher than the end-of-year estimation of the regional economic institute CELAC.