Friday June 27 2014
Colombia Trade Deficit Widens Sharply in April
DANE | Isabel Felino | isabel.felino@tradingeconomics.com

Colombia’s trade gap increased to USD 1.2 billion in April of 2014 from USD 0.2 billion a year earlier, driven by a sharp fall in exports to the United States and a rise in diesel imports. Compared with the previous month, the country’s shortfall widened 130 percent.

Exports amounted to USD 4.3 billion in April of 2014, compared with last year’s USD 4.9 billion (-13.1 percent year-on-year). Manufacturing shipments fell 19.8 percent, due to ferronickel (-49.4 percent), plastics (-26.9 percent), and machinery, apparatus and electrical appliances (-38.0 percent).

Mining sales shrank 10.7 percent yoy, hurt by lower exports of coal, coke and briquettes (-28.6 percent) and oil (-4.8 percent). Gold sales fell 46.7 percent and shipments of agricultural products, food and beverages decreased 3.1 percent.

Lower sales were recorded to the United States (-41.4 percent), India (-43.9 percent), Venezuela (-27.2 percent) and Ecuador (23.5 percent).

Imports increased 5.6 percent on the year to USD 5.5 billion in April of 2014, against USD 5.2 billion one year earlier. Purchases grew 3.0 percent for manufacturing; 56.5 percent for diesel and 8.4 percent for agricultural stuff.

Higher imports were made from the United States (+12.3 percent) mostly fuels, mineral oils and products and cereals; imports of aeronautical from France increased 170.9 percent and those of electrical recording, iron and steel from China rose 13.6 percent.




Monday June 23 2014
Central Bank of Colombia Raises Rate to 4%
Banco de la República | Isabel Felino | isabel.felino@tradingeconomics.com

At its June 20th, 2014 meeting, Central Bank of Colombia decided to increase the benchmark interest rate by 25 bps to 4 percent. It is the third consecutive rate increase, aiming to contain inflationary pressures after a better than expected GDP growth rate in the first quarter. Policymakers also decided to increase its dollar purchases to bolster reserves and weaken the peso.

Annual consumer inflation in May was higher than expected and converged faster to 3 percent. Meanwhile, inflation expectations increased compared with the previous month.

Economic growth in the first quarter came in at 6.4 percent and was higher than estimated. Also, figures for 2013 were revised upwards and available information suggests domestic demand, mainly investment, boosted growth. With this new information, increases the chance the economy will move closer to full use of its production capacity in 2014.

Under these circumstances, policymakers considered the current macroeconomic stability and inflation convergence to the long-term target is compatible with an increase in the interest rate. The central bank also said the gradual adjustment of the expansionary monetary policy stance reduces the need for sudden changes in the future, thus ensuring stability.

The Board of the central bank also decided to increase the quantity of purchases of international reserves during the third quarter up to 2 billion USD between July and September.




Monday June 02 2014
Colombia Raises Interest Rate for 2nd Straight Meeting
Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

At its May 30th, 2014 meeting, Central Bank of Colombia decided to increase the benchmark interest rate by 25 bps to 3.75 percent, as the inflation rate continued its expected convergence toward the central bank’s 3 percent target.

The decision was unanimous and follows last meeting’s surprise rate increase, the first in nearly two years.

In April, the annual inflation rate accelerated for the fifth consecutive month to 2.72 percent, remaining closer to the lower limit of the central bank's 2-4 percent target range. Policymakers said that inflation expectations for the year increased from last month and expect domestic demand to keep growing and the economy to approach full use of its production capacity in 2014. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate kept its downward trend and fell for the third straight time to 9 percent in April. 

For 2014, the central bank expects the economy to expand 4.3 percent.


Monday May 26 2014
Colombia Trade Deficit Narrows in March
Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

Colombian trade deficit decreased to USD 0.5 billion in March of 2014 from a USD 0.73 billion gap in the previous month. A year earlier, Colombia posted a USD 0.13 billion surplus.

Exports dropped 4.5 percent year-on-year to USD 4.41 billion in March, following an 8.5 percent decrease in February. Mining sales contracted 4.2 percent due to lower oil exports. Gold sales fell sharply by 35.2 percent and manufacturing shipments decreased 2.7 percent. In contrast, coffee sales rose 21 percent and exports of sugar and bananas surged 166.6 percent and 23 percent, respectively.  

Shipments to the US contracted sharply by 46.6 percent, while sales to Panama, India and The Bahamas increased.

In March, Colombia exported 24 million oil barrels per day, 3.4 percent more than in March of 2013.

Imports expanded 9.4 percent over a year earlier to USD 4.91 billion, driven by higher fuel purchases. 

Considering the first quarter of 2014, exports contracted 4.6 percent over a year earlier while imports increased 4.2 percent.


Tuesday April 29 2014
Colombia Trade Deficit Widens in February on Rising Imports
Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

Colombia’s trade balance turned into a USD 0.73 billion deficit in February of 2014, following a USD 0.06 billion gap in the previous month and a USD 0.17 billion surplus in the same month of the previous year.

Exports shrank 8.5 percent on the year to USD 4.27 billion. Oil shipments fell 9.5 percent, gold sales dropped sharply by 48.5 percent and exports of road vehicles decreased 67.4 percent. In contrast, sales of bananas, coffee and flowers rose 90.1 percent, 20.1 percent and 31.7 percent, respectively.

Shipments to the US, Germany and Chile fell 13.2 percent, while sales to China rose 3.6 percent. 

In February, Colombia exported 20.8 million oil barrels per day, 3.3 percent less than in February of 2013.

Imports surged by an annual 11.1 percent in February, after falling by 6.7 percent in January, boosted by higher fuel purchases (+82.2 percent yoy).   


Friday April 25 2014
Colombia Unexpectedly Raises Interest Rate to 3.5%
Central Bank of Colombia | isabel.felino@tradingeconomics.com

At its April 25th meeting, Central Bank of Colombia increased the benchmark interest rate to 3.5 percent due to higher inflation and improving economy.

In the fourth quarter of 2013, Colombian economy expanded 4.9 percent over the same period last year, slightly lower than a 5.4 percent expansion in the previous quarter. For the full 2013, it was 4.3 percent, up from 4 percent in 2012.

Inflation is also picking up. Through March, annual consumer inflation was 2.5% compared with 2.3% at the end of February and 1.9% at the end of March 2013.


Friday March 21 2014
Colombia Leaves Rates on Hold
Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

At its March 21st, 2014 meeting, Central Bank of Colombia left the benchmark interest rate steady at 3.25 percent and decided to extend its dollar purchase program, and buy up to $1 billion through June.

The central bank the left borrowing cost unchanged for the twelfth straight meeting, as it considers interest rates remain at levels that stimulate aggregate spending and will hopefully allow the 2014 GDP to approach the productive capacity of the economy as inflation converges towards the 3 percent target. 

In the fourth quarter of 2013, the GDP advanced 4.9 percent over the same period last year, slightly lower than a 5.4 percent expansion in the previous quarter. For the full 2013, it was 4.3 percent, up from 4 percent in 2012. 

Annual inflation rate has been below the 3 percent target for 16 consecutive months and was recorded at 2.32 percent in February of 2014.


Thursday March 13 2014
Colombia Posts $0.7B Trade Deficit
Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

In the first month of 2014, Colombian trade balance turned into a USD 0.7 billion gap, down from a USD 0.34 billion surplus in the previous month. Compared with the same month last year, the trade gap narrowed 79 percent, as imports shrank at a faster pace than exports.

Exports amounted to 4.78 billion in January, falling 1.44 percent on the year and 9.3 percent over the previous month. While sales of fuels and mining products surged 7 percent year-on-year, gold sales fell sharply by 60 percent. Manufacturing shipments contracted 15.1 percent due to chemical products, machinery and transport equipment. 

Shipments to China, the Netherlands and the US fell the most on the year (-9.5 percent), but sales to India increased 9.3 percent. 

Imports fell 6.7 percent over a year earlier to USD 4.84 billion, hurt by a 6.3 percent drop in manufacturing purchases and an 18.8 percent decrease in food and drinks. Compared with the previous month, imports decreased 2 percent. 


Friday February 28 2014
Colombia Leaves Monetary Policy Unchanged
Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

At its February 28th, 2014 meeting, Central Bank of Colombia decided to leave the benchmark interest rate unchanged at 3.25 percent, as widely expected, saying that interest rates remain at levels that stimulate aggregate spending.

The central bank said that the outlook for global growth in 2014 remains largely unchanged from previous estimates. 

Policymakers estimate the GDP to have grown between 4 percent and 5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013, with 4.6 percent as the more likely figure, and boosted by investment. 

For 2014, economic growth between 3.3 percent and 5.3 percent is expected, with 4.3 percent the most likely figure.


Wednesday February 19 2014
Colombian Trade Balance Returns to Surplus
Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com

In December of 2013, Colombia’s trade balance turned into a USD 340 million surplus, up from a revised USD 100 million deficit in the previous month. A year earlier, the country recorded a USD 410 million surplus.

In the last month of 2013, exports increased 6.5 percent yoy to USD 5.27 billion. Sales of mining products and fuels rose 9.8 percent on the year and shipments of agricultural products increased 22.2 percent, especially sugar, coffee and bananas. The country exported 25.5 million crude oil barrels, higher than 23.1 million barrels in the same month a year earlier. In contrast, gold sales fell 45.1 percent.

Imports rose 8.8 percent on the year to USD 4.94 billion, boosted by higher purchases of transport equipment and diesel. 

For full 2013, exports fell 2.2 percent over 2012, mainly due to lower gold sales. The United States were Colombia’s top export partner, accounting for 31.4 percent of total sales, followed by China (8.7 percent), Panama (5.7 percent), India (5.1 percent), Spain (4.9 percent) and the Netherlands (3.9 percent). 

In the same period, imports rose slightly by 0.5 percent. 30 percent of total purchases came from the US, 19 percent from China and 10.1 percent from Mexico.