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Colombian economy grew 17.6% in second quarter in retail and leisure

Agrowth figures by sector, quotes

BOGOTA, August 17 (Reuters)The Colombian economy grew 17.6% in the second quarter of 2021 compared to the period a year earlier, the government said on Tuesday, more than the market predicts.

Analysts said in a Reuters poll last week that the Andean country’s gross domestic product (GDP) would increase by 14.5%, citing a weak comparative period, a recovery in productivity and historically low interest rates.

The GDP of Latin America’s fourth-largest economy contracted 15.7% between April and June last year, when the country was hit by lockdowns to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The economy shrank 2.4% in the second quarter compared to the first quarter of 2021, the government statistics agency DANE said, as anti-government protests and associated roadblocks led to food shortages and blocked exports between late. April and mid-June.

“We know that we recorded an annual growth of 17.6% in the second quarter but unfortunately, due to the effects of the protests, we recorded a quarterly contraction of 2.4%,” said DANE chief Juan Daniel Oviedo.

Colombia’s central bank has kept its benchmark interest rate at an all-time low of 1.75% since September of last year, although economic analysts expect the board to begin to start trading soon. increase the rate to manage inflationary pressures.

Analysts also predict that growth will moderate over the next few quarters, especially as the 2020 quarter comparisons have become less spectacular later in the year.

The second quarter expansion was led by retailing including transportation and food services, manufacturing and construction which grew 40.3%, 32.5% and 17.3%, respectively , said DANE.

Leisure saw massive growth of 83.8% compared to the second quarter of 2020, while the communications, utilities and public spending sectors grew by 10%, 9.1% and 9% respectively.

Analysts’ median forecast in the Reuters poll was lower than the central bank’s estimate for second-quarter GDP growth, which it increased to 17.3% in July from 15.8% previously.

The Colombian economy is expected to grow 6.8% this year according to analysts. The central bank’s tech team increased its GDP forecast for the full year to 7.5% from 6% previously.

(Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb and Carlos Vargas, written by Oliver Griffin)

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