March 28, 2014 / 11:02 PM / 5 years ago

Colombia current account deficit ends 2013 at 3.4 percent

A worker collects coffee beans after being dried at a farm of the National Coffee Growers Federation in Pueblo Bello, northern Cesar province January 29, 2014. REUTERS/Jose Miguel Gomez

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombia’s current account deficit deepened to 3.4 percent of GDP in 2013 from 3.2 percent the previous year, the central bank said on Friday, as lower prices for some key exports contributed to the near halving of the Andean nation’s trade surplus.

The balance of payments deficit stood at $12.7 billion by the end of last year while the trade surplus tumbled to $1.9 billion. The economy grew 4.3 percent last year, beating expectations, while inflation remains low.

“The dynamic of the trade balance reflects the effect of the generalized reduction in export prices of key products,” the bank said in a statement.

Colombia is the world’s No. 4 exporter of thermal coal but output missed the target last year due to bouts of labor and logistics strife. It is also the world’s biggest producer of washed arabica coffees whose prices were relatively low throughout 2013, another factor which slimmed the trade surplus.

The country also produces about 1 million barrels of crude oil a day and is seeking investment to boost that to 1.3 million barrels by 2020.

Foreign direct investment last year grew 8 percent to a record $16.8 billion, equating to about 4.5 percent of GDP.

Almost half or 46.7 percent of these inflows were destined for investments in oil and mining.

Additionally, foreign inflows into financial assets rose 50 percent to $11.07 billion. J.P. Morgan raised its weighting for Colombia in two of indexes last week, boosting those inflows and strengthening the peso.

Reporting by Nelson Bocanegra; Writing by Peter Murphy; editing by Andrew Hay

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