UPDATE 1-Colombia GDP grows 3.1 pct in 2015, just below estimate
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BOGOTA, March 10 (Reuters) - Colombia's economy grew 3.1 percent in 2015 compared with the year before, the government said on Thursday, just shy of its 3.2 percent forecast.
Latin America's fourth-largest economy has been battered by a fall in oil revenue and sharp increases in inflation over the last year, as global crude prices plunged and the peso currency lost about 23 percent of its value against the dollar.
Thursday's figures marked the slowest annual economic expansion for six years. The economy grew 4.4 percent in 2014.
Gross domestic product expanded 3.3 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with the same period in 2014, the DANE statistics agency told journalists.
The economy grew 0.6 percent during the last three months of the year compared with the previous quarter.
"During 2015 we had to confront great challenges because of the oil fall," Finance Minister Mauricio Cardenas said on Twitter. "The results show we adopted the right policies."
The government expects growth of 3 percent this year, even as policymakers raise the benchmark lending rate to grapple with inflation approaching 8 percent and a deep current account deficit.
Consumer prices were up 7.59 percent in the twelve months to February and are expected to reach 8 percent before falling to 5 percent around the end of the year, still well outside the central bank's 2 to 4 percent target range. Continuación...