By Nelson Bocanegra
BOGOTA, Aug 12 (Reuters) - Colombia's economy is forecast to have grown 14.5% year-on-year according to the median of analysts' forecasts, a Reuters poll revealed on Thursday, citing a weak comparative period and due to recovering productivity and historically low interest rates.
Such growth would contrast with the 15.7% contraction in Colombia's year-on-year gross domestic product (GDP) seen between April and June last year, when Latin America's fourth-largest economy grappled with measures to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Colombia saw first-quarter GDP growth of 1.1% compared with the first quarter of 2020.
"It's down to the base effect - the second quarter of 2020 was the lowest last year - and recovery in mining and energy, and in exports, thanks to the uptick in demand and commodity prices," said Juan David Ballen, chief economist for the Casa de Bolsa brokerage.
The lifting of restrictions on movement has also benefited retail, while low interest rates encouraged loans and internal consumption, he said, adding future quarters will see GDP growth moderate.
The economic recovery also got a boost from expansive monetary policy. Colombia's central bank has held its benchmark interest rate at the historic low of 1.75% since September last year. Growth was strong despite spring road blockades that led to shortages of food and other goods.
While the economy continues to improve, economists expect the central bank will soon begin to raise the rate to manage inflationary pressures.
The median forecast by analysts in the Reuters poll was below the central bank's estimate for second-quarter GDP growth, which it hiked to 17.3% in July from 15.8% previously.
Colombia's economy is forecast to grow 6.8% this year and 3.7% in 2022, according to the median taken from 14 analysts.
Last month the central bank's technical team increased its full-year GDP forecast to 7.5%, from 6% previously.
(Reporting by Nelson Bocanegra Writing by Oliver Griffin)
((Oliver.Griffin@thomsonreuters.com; +57 304-583-8931;))
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