The Colombian economy slowed down due to the coronavirus crisis, but it saved the first quarter with a growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 1.1%, a figure, however, much less than 2.9% in the same period last year, official sources reported this Friday.
The director of the National Administrative Department of Statistics (DANE), Juan Daniel Oviedo, said that the impact of the pandemic was especially felt when the quarantine began last March 25 because there was “a mixed clash between supply and demand.”
“All of us as providers of employment, work or works, we stay at home. Consequently, the companies are left without people to combine their capital and stop producing. At the same time, we, being compulsory isolated, we stopped attending shows and restaurants, “he added.
In this sense, DANE pointed out that the dynamics of Colombian GDP in the first quarter was due to the fact that gross capital formation decreased by 6.7%; exports by 6.1% and imports by 2.5%.
Meanwhile, final consumption expenditure increased by 3.7%.
By sector, the “agriculture, livestock, hunting, forestry and fishing” grew by 6.8%; 3.4% for “public administration and defense, compulsory affiliation social security plans, education, human health care and social services activities”, and 2.6% for “real estate activities”.
Meanwhile, “construction” fell (-11.4%); “manufacturing industries” (-4.5%), and “arts, entertainment and recreation and other service activities, activities of individual households as employers” (-3.9%).
The Colombian economy grew 3.3% in 2019, the highest figure in the last five years, driven mainly by commercial and service activities.
The country’s GDP did not show a result like this since 2014, when expansion was 4.6%, and as of that year the economy hit the brakes.
THE EXPERTS SPEAK
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, BBVA Research predicts that the Colombian economy will contract 3% in 2020 but will resist the shock and will grow 3.9% in 2021, according to a report released on April 28.
According to the entity, the impact of the quarantine due to the pandemic, which now exceeds 13,000 infected and 520 dead in the country, initially crystallized in the drop in supply and then in the collapse of household consumption.
The result disclosed this Friday about the first quarter “is consistent, according to a DANE exercise, with the fact that during the last week of March the economy operated at around 65% of its capacity compared to the previous level,” BBVA commented this Friday.
In its analysis, the bank also assured that “the closure of the economy during the last week of March anticipates that the economic impact of the confinement will be greater during the second quarter of 2020, when there were more weeks of quarantine.”
However, some indicators show that the closure of the economy was even greater until the second week of April and that, since then, it has undergone a very gradual opening of some additional businesses and activities.