BOGOTA, June 13 (Reuters) - Colombia’s economy could grow faster in 2014 than the 4.7 percent official target for 2014 and reach 5.5 percent next year, President Juan Manuel Santos said on Friday, in response to new data showing accelerating construction activity.
“This year I think we’re going to exceed the target of 4.7 percent. Next year if the fourth generation (infrastructure investment) process starts, I think it will be 5.5 percent or more,” Santos said.
Santos said the Finance Ministry had informed him that first quarter growth could reach 5.5 percent compared with a year earlier.
The official growth figure is scheduled to be released on next Thursday, June 19. The central bank last month forecast first quarter growth at 4.8 percent.
Santos is running for re-election on Sunday against right-wing challenger Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, in a race that has centered on the two candidates differing approaches over how to end the country’s 50-year war with leftist guerrillas.
“If we achieve peace, this country can grow normally above 6 percent with no difficulty,” he said.
Colombia’s economy has been growing at 4 percent or faster since 2010 and inflation is controlled, at around 3 percent or the center of the central bank’s 2 pecent to 4 percent target range. (Reporting by Monica Garcia Editing by W Simon)