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Venezuelan refugees boost Colombian economy, could have same effect in Ecuador and Peru

By Andrea Jaramillo and Oscar Medina

Colombia’s economy grew at its fastest pace in four years as migration from Venezuela and accelerating credit growth boost consumer demand.

Venezuelans crossing the border into Colombia earlier this year.

Gross domestic product expanded 3.3% in the three months through September, compared to the same period a year ago, the statistics agency said Thursday. That was exactly in line with forecasts from analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Colombia has held out against the emerging market trend for interest rate cuts as its economy outpaces peers this year. All the other major inflation-targeting central banks in Latin America have cut interest rates in recent months as their economies slow.
GDP rose 0.6% from the second quarter.

The International Monetary Fund forecasts Colombia will grow 3.4% in 2019, faster than Peru, Chile, Brazil, Mexico and Argentina. For Latin America and the Caribbean, it expects average growth of 0.2%.

Colombia has received about 1.5 million migrants from Venezuela in the last few years, and thousands more arrive every day. This may help explain why Colombia has the unusual combination of strong growth and a weak labor market, since many migrants find work in the informal sector, said Paulo Mateus, an economist at Goldman Sachs.
Economists from Banco de Bogota and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria also said that migration probably explains Colombia’s relatively strong consumer demand.

“Colombia has received a very strong migration shock,” Mario Castro, a strategist at BBVA said in a phone interview. “While the migrant population is very poor, they are not starving, and they are consuming. Household consumption is what is explaining Colombia’s growth.”

Castro added that Ecuador and Peru, also the recipients of large numbers of Venenzuelan migrants, are likely to see a similar economic boost. “The benefits may be delayed by a few months since the refugees were later in arriving in those countries, but I think they will see growth similar to Colombia’s in 2020.”

The retail, wholesale and transport sector expanded 5.9% while financial services grew 8.2%. This helped offset the weak manufacturing and oil sectors, and a contraction in construction activity.

Credit: Al Jazeera,

11 thoughts on “Venezuelan refugees boost Colombian economy, could have same effect in Ecuador and Peru

  1. Hilarious how they manipulate information. In the original Aljazeera article they show pictures of people laden down with tiolet paper. In the picture Cuenca High Life choose, they are carrying shopping bags. So, is the boom to Colombia’s economy due to migrants or people crossing the border to shop? If this article is about migrants causing a boom and these are pictures of those fleeing… why are they bringing their own toilet paper and groceries… if there are none in Venezuela? That San Miquel flour he is carrying? That is a product of Colombia… so the whole headline under the picture is false… these are Venezuelan shoppers returning home from Colombia after a day of shopping, not migrants.

    1. Seriously. You want the Venezuelans to explain why they are bringing their own toilet paper. This is ridiculous; you are making light of a dire situation and analyzing the products they are carrying. Put yourself in their situation before being an armchair critic. Most people in South America carry toilet paper with them. Try finding a bathroom with toilet tissue. Good luck.

      1. I have to laugh because what you say about the toilet paper situation in Ecuador’s public bathrooms is true. While many might carry a roll for such occasions, very few carry around a twelve pack. 🙂

      2. Greetings. Gary’s comment was directed at the article’s author and media in general. I can’t see why Venezuelans would need to explain anything, based on the comment.

    2. Nice job with your observations! Venezuelans shopping for the household products in Colombia that they don’t have in Venezuela will no doubt improve Colombia’s economy to a degree. It won’t happen the same way here in Ecuador.

  2. Ah, I get it!!! The way to boost your economy is to open your borders and let everyone in who has some sort of grievance. Then allow them to ‘work’ under the table and undermine the locals who are desperate for work. Sounds like a plan I’ve heard before…

    1. Many countries have opened their borders and it has boosted their economy. Take Canada for example.

      Most Ecuadorians work under the table and it appears as though that is encouraged.

      If the Ecuadorian didn’t show up and the Venezuelans is willing to fill that work gap then IT IS NOT undermining the locals. Perhaps it will teach the locals better work ethics.

      We have sat and waited all day for a worker just to find out they were not coming that day which is very frustrating. They come when they please and DO NOT contact us to change the appointed time

      1. Yes, I’ll take Canada as an example…Umm, I was married to a Canadian and was unable to work there. So no, that’s not a great example…US is a better example where you can sneak in, work under the table, drive down the local wages, and send money home to your family..That’s the example of choice in the Third World..

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