Colombia: GDP grows at slowest pace in three years
December 20, 2012
In the third quarter, GDP grew 2.1% over the same quarter the previous year. The figure was less than half the 4.9% expansion observed in the second quarter and undershot market expectations of a 3.9% rise. The reading marked, in fact, the lowest growth rate recorded since the third quarter of 2009.
The slowdown in the third quarter was mainly caused by a sharp deterioration in fixed investment, which contracted 4.6%, after having expanded a strong 15.0% in the second quarter. Total consumption, on the other hand, remained broadly unchanged, increasing 4.2% year-on-year (Q2: +4.1% yoy), amid stable growth in private consumption (Q2: +4.0% yoy; Q3: +4.0% yoy).
Meanwhile, the external sector remained virtually unchanged over the previous quarter, as both exports and imports decelerated at a similar pace. Exports grew 2.5% (Q2: +3.6% yoy) while imports expanded 8.8% (Q2: +10.0% yoy). As a result, the external sector's net contribution to overall growth inched up from minus 2.0 percentage points in the second quarter to minus 1.9 percentage points in the third.
A quarter-on-quarter comparison suggests an even sharper deterioration than the deceleration suggested by the annual data, as the economy contracted 0.7% over the previous quarter in seasonally adjusted terms, contrasting the 1.3% increase recorded in the second quarter.
The Central Bank projects economic growth to reach 4.3% this year, while the government expects economic growth to be between 4.5% and 5.0%.