Cablegate: Colombian 3rd Quarter Gdp Growth Misses the Mark

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



E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (U) SUMMARY. The GOC released 2004 Q3 GDP figures
showing a sluggish 2.43 percent growth rate. GOC forecasts
had predicted a 3.9 percent increase. Colombia's expected
2004 GDP growth rate of 4 percent can now only be achieved if
Q4 GDP growth reaches 5 percent or higher. These numbers are
disappointing to Colombian government economists, and the
GOC, through the Colombian press has come out with multiple
explanations. END SUMMARY.

2. (U) Colombian government officials expressed concern
over lower growth figures; however, they explained their
inability to meet the 4.1 percent target as being a result of
multiple variables. Economists at the Central Bank and the
National Planning Department (DNP) told econoff that the
lower numbers are due to supply shocks caused by a truckers
strike in September and October. In addition, Central Bankers
noted that public investment in the third quarter was low.
Colombia is currently experiencing a change of governments at
the local level and local governments are currently in a
period of renewing contracts, which constrains regional
investment. Officials at DANE, the National Statistics
Department, have said that a slow down in the farming, coal
and oil sectors is responsible for the low numbers.

3. (U) COMMENT: As it struggles to explain what went wrong
with Q3 GDP figures, the GOC is also looking for explanations
that do not frighten potential investors. END COMMENT.

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