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Colombian Exports had an outstanding positive growth in 2008

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March 13, 2009



Colombian exports recorded a 25.5% growth  in 2008, one of the highest rates in comparison with other Latin American countries. Total sales for the year accounted for US$ 37,626 millions.  This result was despite the complex global economic environment in the second half of 2008. The figures were above sales growth of Brazil (19.3%), Peru (13%), Mexico (3.5%) and Chile (0.2%).

According to Minister Plata, the behavior of the exchange rate was an event that affected the outcome of 2008. "The depreciation of the exchange rate eased to some extent the earnings of exporters. In the second half, the average exchange rate was 14% higher than the one recorded in the first half, "he said.  The declining trend in exports, at the end of the year is explained by the slowdown in external demand and declining international prices of primary products. However, the minister said, the export sector benefited from greater currency devaluation, in the second half of 2008.
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Despite the slower pace of growth in the U.S. economy in 2008 exports to this market grew 35.5% over the previous year, primarily because of oil exports. Minister Plata also considered important to this result Colombia’s exports to Venezuela.  Figures increased by 16.9%,despite being slowed in comparison to 2007, when it had increased by 92.9%. Likewise, Plata noted that economic activity in the euro zone grew by 1 percent in 2008, while Colombian  sales to that destination  rose by 9.3%  and had an overall participation of total exports of 12.7%.

The low economic growth and the global crisis originated in the second half of 2008 a reduction in raw material prices, which for the case of Colombia was in the price of oil, coal, coffee and nickel.

Referring to the favorable changes in exports by technological intensity, the Minister recalled that last year, sales of primary goods increased 45.1%, well above the rate of change in 2007 (21.2% ). This increase was due to sales of products such as oil, coal, coffee and bananas. Exports of high technology products grew by  32.8 %, highlighting aircraft parts such as propellers and landing gear, electrical batteries, electrical transformers,vaccines and surgical sutures.

Prospects for 2009

Although the economic prospect worldwide for 2009 isn’t  a more dynamic market, the Minister is confident that Colombian exports will continue to grow moderately. However, he said, it’s important to take into account what will happen in theexternal environment. For example, minor variations in global demand and  GDP decrease in major developed economies. TheIMF projected a negative rate of economic activity in the United States (1.6 %)and the European Union (2%).

For their part, international estimates (Latin Forecast January 2009), project a growth of 0.6 percent in Venezuela.  These three regions were the target of 66 percent of Colombian exports in 2008.  According to the Director of the World Trade Organization, trade flows are not unrelated to what happens in the global context, hence the reduction in demand and financial difficulties will lead to a global trade contraction.

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