Colombia GDP growth slows on transport strike

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Monday, November 28, 2016

Colombia's economic growth slowed in the third quarter as declines in mining, hydrocarbons, electricity and agriculture offset gains in manufacturing, construction and banking, the government said.

GDP expanded 1.2% in the quarter on an annual basis compared with 3.3% a year earlier, the country's statistics office (DANE) said in a report. Growth was hampered by a 46-day cargo strike that ended in July.

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Metallic mining contracted 1.3% in the quarter as iron ore output plunged by half, followed by emeralds (-35.8%) and gold (-5%), the agency said. Protests by illegal miners in September curtailed gold production at Gran Colombia Gold's operations in Segovia and Antioquia departments.

Platinum production rose 21%, while coal output was up 17% and nickel climbed 0.7%, DANE said. Colombia is Latin America's largest coal producer.

Non-metallic mining output fell 2.3%, according to the agency. Manufacturing gained 2% even as non-metallic mineral products fell 9.6% and basic metallurgical products slid 3.6%.

Colombia has lined up gold, silver and copper mining projects including AngloGold Ashanti's Gramalote and La Colosa, Eco Oro Minerals' Angostura and Continental Gold's Buritica. Vancouver-based Red Eagle Mining started up production at its US$55mn San Ramón gold mine this month.

Construction expanded 5.8% as work on office and apartment buildings rose 11% and civil engineering works were up 2%. President Juan Manuel Santos' government has outlined an infrastructure investment program totaling US$112bn through 2020 in a bid to make Colombia's exports more competitive.