Colombia: GDP growth slows in Q4 but remains resilient
March 23, 2012
In the fourth quarter, GDP grew 6.1% over the same quarter the previous year. The figure was down from the 7.5% expansion observed in the third quarter (previously reported: +7.7% year-on-year) but exceeded market expectations that had GDP expanding 5.6%. The deceleration in the fourth quarter was caused by slower growth in the domestic sector. Total consumption decelerated from a 5.9% expansion in the third quarter to a 5.5% increase in the fourth, dragged down by lower growth in private consumption (Q3 2011: +6.7% yoy; Q4 2011: +6.1% yoy). Government spending, on the other hand, accelerated to 3.0% (Q4 2011: +2.6% yoy). Meanwhile, gross fixed investment slowed sharply from a 22.4% increase in the third quarter to a 12.4% expansion. The external sector improved over the previous quarter, as exports accelerated from a 12.3% increase in the third quarter to a 15.8% expansion in the fourth, while imports moderated slightly to 20.1% (Q3 2011: +20.3% yoy). As a result, the external sector's net contribution to overall growth stepped up from minus 2.8 percentage points in the third quarter to minus 2.3 percentage points in the fourth. A quarter-on-quarter comparison corroborates the slowdown seen in the annual data, as the economy added 1.3% over the previous quarter in seasonally adjusted terms, down from the 1.5% increase recorded in the third quarter. For the full year 2011, GDP expanded 5.9%, which was up from the 4.0% expansion recorded in 2010. The Central Bank sees GDP expanding between 4.0% and 6.0% this year.