Colombia current account deficit deepens in 2014

jueves 26 de marzo de 2015 20:59 GYT

BOGOTA, March 26 (Reuters) - Colombia's current account deficit deepened to 5.2 percent of gross domestic product in 2014 from 3.2 percent the year before, the central bank said on Thursday, due chiefly to the tumble in the price of crude oil, the Andean country's top export.

The deficit, financed largely by inflows related to foreign investment as well as the country's own currency reserves, totaled $19.78 billion last year, versus $12.3 billion in 2013.

"This trend was due mainly to the sharp fall in the price of crude oil in the fourth quarter and had a significant impact on the trade balance and the state of the current account," a central bank report said.

The trade deficit last year was $11.8 billion, deriving from imports of $75.2 billion, surpassing exports of $63.9 billion.

Foreign investment fell 0.9 percent last year to $16.05 billion versus $16.19 billion in 2013 with foreign capital bound for the mining sector falling 21 percent. That was partly offset by higher foreign investment in other sectors.

Oil and mining, both of which have been afflicted by falling prices, accounted for 40 percent of total foreign investment last year, down from 50 percent in 2013.

Foreign investment in Colombian financial assets however shot up 68.5 percent over 2013, to $18.66 billion with heavier investment in locally issued bonds known as TES.

Remittances from Colombians working abroad fell 7 percent in 2014 to $4.09 billion, with less cash being sent home from neighboring Venezuela which is in the midst of a deepening economic crisis. (Reporting by Nelson Bocanegra; Writing by Peter Murphy; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)