Colombian economy grew 6.4% in the first quarter
More than half of the economy’s expansion (51.6%) is due to purchases made by the country’s households, which demanded all types of goods and services, and, to a greater extent, semi-durable goods like furniture and remodeling, for which demand increased by 6.8%. This was followed by purchases of durable goods, like automobiles and technological equipment, which increased by 6.2%.
Regarding these first-quarter results, President Juan Manuel Santos Calderón stated that the country’s economy is growing in a healthy way at the expected pace, thus allowing for improvements in the welfare of the Colombian people. “This is an economy that is growing in a healthy way, that is creating jobs, the majority of them formal, for the first time. We are the country in Latin America that has created the most work over these last four years,” he explained.
Santos added that the investment rate is currently around 30%, and emphasized that “that is already a level that a few years ago we thought would be impossible to reach; Colombia has achieved an investment rate on par with Asia.”
According to reports from the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Tourism, one of the outcomes of this positive period that Colombia is experiencing is the 3.9% average growth of industry over nearly 4 years, which has allowed the sector to create 226,000 jobs. This is in addition to the 48,000 additional posts that were created in the February-April quarter, compared to the same period the year before.
According to the DANE [National Administrative Department of Statistics], construction was the most dynamic sector, with a 17.2% increase. The banking sector, which contributes one-fifth from the supply side, grew 6% in the quarter, surpassing the 2.2% growth recorded between January and March of 2013.
Social services, which represent one-sixth of GDP, reached 6.3% for the first time since the third quarter of 2007. In turn, manufacturing, which represents 12% of the GDP, consolidated a productive expansion of 3.3%, when one year earlier it had recorded a shrinkage of 4.8%.