UPDATE 1-Colombia Q1 GDP grew 2.5 pct led by industry, building

viernes 3 de junio de 2016 13:19 GYT
 

(Adds data, breakdown by sector)

BOGOTA, June 3 (Reuters) - Colombia's economy grew 2.5 percent in the first quarter compared with the same period a year earlier, the government said on Friday, led by strong growth in manufacturing and construction.

Gross domestic product expanded 0.2 percent from the fourth quarter, the statistics agency said.

The year-on-year growth is just below market expectations, which saw expansion at 2.6 percent, and fell short of the 2.8 percent increase forecast by Finance Minister Mauricio Cardenas.

Colombia's economy, mostly driven by oil and mining, has been hurt by a drop in global crude and coal prices over the last year or so, pressuring employment numbers and forcing the government to seek additional sources of revenue.

The central bank also has raised the cost of credit by 275 basis points over the last nine months, leaving the benchmark lending rate at 7.25 percent last month.

The first quarter GDP data - which matched the forecast by central bank policymakers - makes it more likely the seven-member board will focus its analysis more on consumer prices as it seeks to end the tightening cycle.

Annual inflation at 7.93 percent is almost double the upper end of the bank's 2 percent to 4 percent target range.

Among sectors measured in the first quarter data, manufacturing increased 5.3 percent, construction was up 5.2 percent and financial services rose 3.8 percent. The mining and oil sector slumped 4.6 percent. (Reporting by Helen Murphy Editing by W Simon)