BOGOTA Dec 17 Colombia's economy may have grown
almost 5 percent in the third quarter, Finance Minister Mauricio
Cardenas said on Tuesday, a level higher than expected by the
A Reuters poll this week found that annual growth probably
reached 4.4 percent in the three months through September.
Expansion of 5 percent would bring the economy closer to the
government's forecast of 4.5 percent for full 2013.
Third quarter GDP data will be released on Thursday.
"I am very optimistic," Cardenas told reporters in Bogota.
"The information is still partial but in construction we expect
double-digit growth, probably about 15 percent, coffee too."
"I think the data will be very good, the components that we
know point to very good growth, of close to 5 percent."
The economy has been patchy this year, with the government
and central bank taking measures to boost flagging output and
While industrial production, retail sales and exports have
been weakened much of the year on the back of a global slump,
economists expect an improvement in the coming months that will
If Cardenas is right, the central bank is more likely to
hold its benchmark lending rate steady at 3.25 percent for a
ninth straight month when it meets on Friday.
The minutes of the November meeting showed some of the
seven-member board favored another cut if growth remained at
current levels or weakened. In the second quarter growth reached