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Colombia Economy

    Economy—overview: Colombia ended 1998 in recession with 0.2% GDP growth due to a combination of low world oil prices, reduced export demand, guerrilla violence, and diminished investment flows. The Central Bank resorted to interest rate hikes and tight monetary policy to defend the peso against pressure from Colombia's worsening trade and fiscal deficits. President PASTRANA'S well-respected financial team is working to deal with the myriad economic problems the country faces, including the highest unemployment level in decades and a fiscal deficit of close to 5% of GDP in 1998. The government implemented austerity measures, declared emergency measures to guard against a potential banking crisis resulting from the country's economic slowdown, and is seeking international assistance to fund a peace plan with the guerrillas. Guerrilla violence and low world oil prices will likely continue to undermine the economy in 1999.

    GDP: purchasing power parity—$254.7 billion (1998 est.)

    GDP—real growth rate: 0.2% (1998)

    GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$6,600 (1998 est.)

    GDP—composition by sector:
    agriculture: 19%
    industry: 26%
    services: 55% (1996)

    Population below poverty line: 17.7% (1992 est.)

    Household income or consumption by percentage share:
    lowest 10%: 1%
    highest 10%: 46.9% (1995)

    Inflation rate (consumer prices): 16.7% (1998 est.)

    Labor force: 16.8 million (1997 est.)

    Labor force—by occupation: services 46%, agriculture 30%, industry 24% (1990)

    Unemployment rate: 15.7% (1998 est.)

    Budget:
    revenues: $26 billion (1996 est.)
    expenditures: $30 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1996 est.)

    Industries: textiles, food processing, oil, clothing and footwear, beverages, chemicals, cement; gold, coal, emeralds

    Industrial production growth rate: -1.2% (1996)

    Electricity—production: 53.725 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—production by source:
    fossil fuel: 19.26%
    hydro: 80.74%
    nuclear: 0%
    other: 0% (1996)

    Electricity—consumption: 53.857 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—exports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Electricity—imports: 132 million kWh (1996)

    Agriculture—products: coffee, cut flowers, bananas, rice, tobacco, corn, sugarcane, cocoa beans, oilseed, vegetables; forest products; shrimp

    Exports: $11.3 billion (f.o.b., 1998 est.)

    Exports—commodities: petroleum, coffee, coal, gold, bananas, cut flowers

    Exports—partners: US 38%, EU 23%, Andean Community 18%, Japan 3% (1997)

    Imports: $14.4 billion (f.o.b., 1998 est.)

    Imports—commodities: industrial equipment, transportation equipment, consumer goods, chemicals, paper products, fuels

    Imports—partners: US 42%, EU 23%, Andean Community 14%, Japan 4% (1997)

    Debt—external: $18 billion (1998 est.)

    Economic aid—recipient: $40.7 million (1995)

    Currency: 1 Colombian peso (Col$) = 100 centavos

    Exchange rates: Colombian pesos (Col$) per US$1—1,562.0 (February 1999), 1,426.04 (1998), 1,140.96 (1997), 1,036.69 (1996), 912.83 (1995), 844.84 (1994)

    Fiscal year: calendar year

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)