(Corrects growth forecast in headline and first paragraph to 3.5 to 4 percent from 3 to 4 percent)
BOGOTA, April 7 (Reuters) - Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos expects the economy to expand by 3.5 to 4 percent this year, he told local radio on Tuesday, down from the up to 4.5 percent he forecast at the start of the year.
The Andean country’s economy has grown at, or above, 4 percent since 2010 but the halving in price of crude oil, its top export, has slashed government income and led to thousands of layoffs in the energy sector.
“We’re going to continue growing more than any other Latin American country,” Santos told La FM radio. “I think we’re going to grow in any case above 3-1/2 and hopefully close to 4 percent.”
The country should be able to take advantage of a weaker peso to boost exports, Santos said, with the economy also benefiting from additional investment in infrastructure and construction.
The government’s official estimate for growth this year is 4.2 percent, while the central bank has a lower figure of 3.6 percent. The economy expanded by 4.6 percent last year. (Reporting by Monica Garcia; Writing by Peter Murphy; Editing by Peter Galloway)