UPDATE 3-Colombian construction boom boosts third-quarter growth

lunes 15 de diciembre de 2014 16:31 GYT

(Adds finmin comment on growth in Q4, 2015)

By Nelson Bocanegra and Carlos Vargas

BOGOTA Dec 15 (Reuters) - Colombia's economy grew 4.2 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier, the government's statistics agency said on Monday, with construction offsetting a flagging industrial sector and declining oil income.

The increase was the smallest since the first quarter of 2013 and was just below the 4.3 percent median forecast of analysts in a Reuters survey. The data will probably reinforce expectations that the central bank will hold the benchmark interest rate when its board meets on Friday.

The South American nation's gross domestic product grew 0.6 percent from the second quarter, statistics agency DANE said, slower than the analysts' 0.9 percent forecast.

The finance ministry said the result supported its aim for 4.7 percent growth in all of 2014 after expansion of 6.5 percent in the first quarter and 4.3 percent in the second.

Finance Minister Mauricio Cardenas said fourth-quarter growth was likely to be stronger than in the third, with recovery in some weaker sectors.

"I would dare to anticipate that with manufacturing, which is already showing a pickup so far this year, and oil production, that the fourth quarter will be better," he said.

However, the government is likely to cut its official growth forecast for 2015 to about 4.5 percent from 4.8 percent, he said, due mainly to lower oil prices.   Continuación...