Colombia GDP Rebound Finally Enters Positive Economic Territory
Colombia’s national economic statistics agency DANE revealed May 14 that gross domestic product (PIB in Spanish initials) has finally moved into positive territory for first quarter (1Q) 2021, following a year-long Covid-19 crisis.
Since the collapse in second quarter (2Q) 2020 — when PIB bottomed-out at a negative 15.7% — Colombia has since steadily rebounded in subsequent quarters, with first quarter (1Q) 2021 now showing a positive 1.1% growth.
Colombia Finance Minister Jose Manuel Restrepo immediately hailed the 1Q 2021 results as “great news,” adding that “the manufacturing industry (+7%) is the economic sector that contributes the most, accounting for 0.9 percentage points” of the total 1.1% gain.
Colombia President Ivan Duque noted that the national government over the past 15 months has spent billions of dollars in subsidies for the poor, the working classes and job-saving businesses of all sizes in response to the Covid crisis.
“Last year we launched the reactivation program and today we can say that, in the first quarter of 2021, the growth of our economy was positive, above all expectations,” Duque said.
While recent economic growth has been impressive even in the face of many Covid-19 curfews, quarantines, travel restrictions, shopping restrictions and strict health protocols for public and private areas, recent violence and road blockades by terrorists infiltrating peaceful protest marches threaten to hobble further growth, he warned.
Fortunately, the “Comite del Paro” protest committee has finally agreed to meet with national and regional governments to negotiate terms for an end to the violence and blockades, Duque noted.
The 1Q 2021 rebound is “well above the forecasts of experts, who set their estimates between a contraction of 1.9% — as the most pessimistic — to an expansion of just 0.1%,” the official Colombian press bulletin noted.
“The challenge that all Colombians now have is that this reactivation continues, that in our second quarter of this year and in all that remains of this year we reactivate Colombia, because the generation of employment, the generation of opportunities depends on that,” Duque added.