BOGOTA, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Colombia’s Finance Minister Mauricio Cardenas said on Monday the Andean country was likely to grow a slower 4.5 percent in 2015, revising down an earlier forecast of 4.8 percent, as lower oil prices dent earnings from the country’s top export.
The roughly 40 percent plunge in global oil prices since June has been offset to some extent by a simultaneous weakening of the peso to its lowest levels since 2006 as each dollar earned from oil is exchanged into more pesos than before.
“The perspective will be for very good growth, above four percent. We still haven’t finished preparing the forecast. Originally we were at 4.8 percent and no doubt we’ll adjust it by a few decimal points. But it will be healthy growth, growth of around 4.5 percent,” he told reporters in Congress.
In an interview with Reuters on Dec. 6, Cardenas said the government would be forced to trim the 2015 growth outlook but did not cite a specific figure. He said the downward revision was chiefly related to the fall in oil prices.
Colombia’s economy grew 4.2 percent in the third quarter of the year, versus the same July to September period last year, the national statistics agency reported on Monday. (Reporting by Carlos Vargas; Writing by Peter Murphy; Editing by James Dalgleish)