August 2, 2019 / 6:44 PM / a month ago

Colombia current account deficit to widen to 4.4% of GDP -central bank

BOGOTA, Aug 2 (Reuters) - Colombia’s current account deficit will expand to 4.4% of gross domestic product this year, because of a growing trade gap, the central bank forecast on Friday.

The widening of the deficit will principally result from an increase in imports and a fall in the export of commodities like coal, which is weathering low prices, and the meager performance of the country’s trading partners, the bank said in its mid-year report to congress.

“This prediction takes into account expected low global growth, which will be reflected in a more negative trade balance for Colombia,” the report said.

The current account deficit was 3.9% in 2018.

Fitch rating agency said in June that Colombia’s current account deficit would be the largest in the region this year, which would bring risks of a new increase in foreign debt.

Between January and May the commercial trade balance was a negative $3.64 billion, up 76.2% from with the same period the year before.

Uncertainty generated by the U.S. protectionist policies against China and other countries is beginning to affect trade volumes, the bank added. (Reporting by Nelson Bocanegra Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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