Colombia: GDP slows in the first quarter
June 20, 2013
In the first quarter, GDP grew 2.8% over the same quarter last year. The figure undershot both the 3.1% expansion observed in the last quarter of 2012 (previously reported: +2.1% year-on-year) and the 3.1% increase projected by last month's LatinFocus Consensus Forecast.
The deceleration seen in the first quarter was caused by a weaker performance of domestic demand. Total consumption grew only 3.5% in the first quarter (Q4 2012: +5.0% yoy), dragged down by lower growth in both private consumption (Q4: +4.6% yoy; Q1: +3.2% yoy) and government spending (Q4: +6.5% yoy; Q1: +4.6% yoy). On the upside, fixed investment expanded 7.2%, up from the 3.8% increase seen in Q4.
Meanwhile, the external sector improved over the previous quarter, as exports fell 1.2% (Q4: +1.4% yoy), while imports contracted 0.2%, after having expanded a strong 2.9% in Q4. As a result, the external sector's net contribution to overall growth improved from minus 0.5 percentage points in the fourth quarter to minus 0.2 percentage points in the first.
A quarter-on-quarter comparison corroborates the deceleration suggested by the annual data, as the economy expanded 0.3% over the previous quarter in seasonally adjusted terms, which was well below the 1.7% increase recorded in the fourth quarter.
The Central Bank projects economic growth to reach between 3.0% and 5.0% this year, while the government expect the economy to expand between 4.4% and 4.5% in the same period. LatinFocus Consensus Forecast panellists expect GDP to grow 4.1% in 2013, which is unchanged from last month's projection. For next year, the panel sees economic growth at 4.7%.