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Cablegate: Imf Visit to Colombia

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS BOGOTA 004511

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EFIN ELAB PGOV CO
SUBJECT: IMF VISIT TO COLOMBIA


1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Commending the Government of Colombia
(GOC) on its impressive growth over the last year, the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) found that the short term
outlook for Colombia is positive and expects the Colombian
economy to meet revised macroeconomic targets. The positive
macroeconomic growth seen over the last year reflects the
strong policies of the Uribe administration, but the work
toward a stable, sustainable economic situation in Colombia
is not yet finished. Structural reforms decided upon in the
IMF-Colombia Stand-by Agreement two years ago must pass if
economic growth is to continue in the long run. END SUMMARY

2. (SBU) The IMF delegation's third review of the Stand-by
Agreement, which Colombia signed two years ago, commended
Colombia on its positive economic growth and applied pressure
for reforms. The IMF was impressed by the GOC,s GDP growth
(3.5 percent), fiscal deficit reduction (2.8 percent of GDP)
and inflation stabilization (6.49 percent) over the past
year. In addition, the IMF commended the Central bank for its
handling of monetary policy. In light of the positive news,
the IMF announced that it had adjusted its growth
expectations for Colombia in 2004 up to 4 percent GDP from
3.3 percent. In addition, the IMF expects that the GOC will
meet its public fiscal deficit target of 2.5 percent of GDP
(down from 2.8 for 2003) and that inflation will remain under
control.

3. (SBU) Although the economic data paints a bright
picture, the IMF acknowledged that these successes could be
fleeting if the GOC did not continue structural reform by
passing budget code and pension reforms. The IMF team,
recognizing the tough legislative fight ahead, expressed some
concern that other issues (such as re-election) might
distract the GOC. They urged the GOC to focus on passing
these reforms.

WOOD

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