The Minister of Finance, Mauricio Cardenas, said Tuesday that the economic activity during 2014 grew by 4.6% from the previous year, according to figures published by DANE, Colombia’s official statistics agency.
“The result of 3.5% for the fourth quarter allowed the country to close 2014 with growth of 4.6%, in line with expectations. The revision of the growth figure of 4.7% to 4.9% for 2013 explains that the 2014 result was slightly lower than the 4.7% predicted by the government,” said Cardenas. “These results confirm our position as the fastest growing economy among the six largest in Latin America, and as the seventh in the world among all countries, according to The Economist magazine. This growth is noteworthy, since it is expected that growth in Latin America, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is 1.2% for 2014.”
Finance Minister Mauricio Cardenas said that Colombia had the highest growth among the major economies of Latin America, and the seventh highest in the world.
Minister Cardenas highlighted the role played by the construction sector for the country’s economic growth over the past year. “The construction sector continued to be an important engine for economic activity. Its growth of 9.9% reflects the dynamism of both civil works and buildings.” He added that “For its part, the performance is explained by the momentum that non-residential construction has showed since the second half of last year. ”
The Finance Minister also emphasized the performance of other sectors stating that the financial services sector, social services and trade expanded at rates of 4.5% in the year. “This performance is a sign of the country’s macroeconomic stability, low unemployment rates, the increase in formal employment and soundness of the financial market,” he said.
Regarding the manufacturing sector, the finance minister said the industry closed 2014 with a slightly positive performance reaching growth of 0.2%. “This is an acceptable result in a difficult context in which the global economy has shown no recovery, and is even more remarkable considering the closing of the Cartagena Refinery March of last year. The latter explains the contraction of 8.7% in petroleum refining, and to emphasize that, if not for the situation faced by the ector, the industry would have presented growth rates closer to 1.3%, higher than the level seen in the last two years.”
Cardenas acknowledged the challenges faced by the mining sector during the past year. He revealed that the mining sector during 2014 showed a contraction of 0.2%, mainly due to lower oil production (-1.4%). So far in 2015 the mining and energy sector has shown a significant recovery, in particular oil production figures reported during January and February remained above one million barrels a day.
The results show that Colombia is having success diversifying away from its traditional dependence on the petroleum and mining sectors for foreign currency reseves.