Colombia revises down 2023 economic growth projection to 2.2%

BOGOTA, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Colombia lowered its economic growth projection for next year to 2.2%, down from a previous 3.2%, Finance Minister Jose Antonio Ocampo said on Friday, adding he does not think the country will regain its investment grade soon.

Despite the reduction, the government's projection remains more optimistic than the central bank's 1.1% expansion prediction for 2023.

Ocampo said growth would be lower due to high inflation, Colombia's fiscal difficulties and a large current account deficit.

"We inherited an international economic situation which is much more adverse with these three living problems, it is the challenge we have as a government," Ocampo said during a presentation at an annual banking convention in Cartagena.

"The finance ministry has revised its figure for growth for next year to 2.2%," he added.

The government predicts expansion of 6.5% this year.

Though Ocampo said one of the top objectives of the ministry is to recover Colombia's investment grade credit rating, which it lost last year amid the fallout from coronavirus, it "is not an easy issue."

"Last time we lost investment grade it took 11 years to get it back, I hope it won't be so long this time but it is not a very short term issue."
Reporting by Nelson Bocanegra Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Sam Holmes

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