Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos said Thursday a “forex war” is one of the Colombian economy’s main challenges as the government tries to keep its currency from strengthening too much against a weak dollar.
Colombia’s peso has strengthened some 60% against the dollar since 2003 and in recent months its central bank has taken to buying at least $20 million worth of greenbacks a day in the forex market to tamp down the peso.
The peso closed at COP1,868.00 for $1 Wednesday, slightly weaker from its close the day before.
Santos made his comments during a forum at a university in Bogota.
The president also said his government aims for 5% economic growth this year and over the next several years, which he said “will allow Colombia to put itself in the coming years among the most dynamic economies in the world.”
Santos said he recognizes the 5% target is more optimistic than his economic team’s target for 2011. Finance Minister Juan Carlos Echeverry said Wednesday he expects the economy to grow about 4.5% this year, which is close to the economy’s likely expansion for 2010.
Colombia’s economy rebounded rather quickly from a global economic downturn in 2007-2008, helped by a booming oil industry. Increased foreign investment in mining and other sectors has also helped as Colombia’s military achieves success in containing the threat of Marxist guerrillas that have plagued the nation with bombings and kidnappings for many years.