BOGOTA May 8 Colombia's exports shrank 20
percent by value in March and 9.5 percent in the first three
months of the year, a significant drop that the government on
Wednesday blamed on lower prices and reduced demand for oil and
The government's DANE statistics agency said the value of
oil exports fell 9.2 percent in March versus the same month last
year, even though they increased by 5.4 percent in volume.
The value of the country's coal exports decreased 75.6
percent in the third month of the year.
Colombia is the world's No. 4 coal exporter and output in
the first few months of the year was hit by labor disputes, an
incident at a key coal port and a temporary suspension of night
transportation at a coal railway.
The value of coffee exports from the world's top exporter of
high-quality arabica beans decreased 38.1 percent in March.
Coal and coffee are the top foreign currency earners after
oil and key drivers for economic growth, which is slowing.
Economic growth in 2012 amounted to 4 percent, down from 6.6
percent in 2011.
The government forecasts economic growth at 4.8 percent this
year, while the Central Bank sees the economy expanding 4.3