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Colombia's current account deficit doubled in first nine months of 2021

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BOGOTA, Dec 1 (Reuters) - Colombia's current account deficit almost doubled from January to September to $12.6 billion from the year-earlier period, partly because of imports exceeding exports, the central bank said on Wednesday.

The deficit represents 5.4% of Colombia's gross domestic product (GDP). In the nine months through September 2020, the deficit was $6.49 billion, equal to 3.3% of the Andean country's GDP.

In the third quarter alone, Colombia's deficit rose 19.2% to $5.12 billion dollars, compared with the same period last year and was equivalent to 6.4% of GDP.

The imbalance in Colombia's current account - which registers the financial flows the country exchanges with the rest of the world's economies - is due to imports outstripping exports, creating a negative trade balance, as well as outflows of gains on foreign investment.

The deficit was partially offset by income from remittances from abroad, the bank added in a statement.

Direct foreign investment rose 32.8% during the period versus the first nine months of last year, to $7.16 billion.

At the end of October, the central bank projected Colombia's current account deficit would hit 5.3% of GDP this year, up from a previous estimate of 5%. (Reporting by Nelson Bocanegra; Writing by Oliver Griffin; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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