(Photo: la Informacion)

Colombia’s industrial confidence rose in February, according to a study published Thursday by economic think tank Fedesarrollo.Fedesarrollo’s Industrial Confidence Indicator (ICI) rose 5.8% which, seasonally adjusted, represents the highest level since mid-2012. February’s levels were 8.8% higher than the previous year.

The lift was driven by significant momentum in both the housing sector and civil works, reported Dinero, an affiliate of the Semana media group.

More industrial capacity utilized

The index is composed of the current volume of orders, stock levels and production expectations for the next three months.

In particular, there were gains in utilized capacity, that is, the proportion of what is actually produced with installed equipment against a theoretical maximum production, according to Fedesarrollo.

The capacity utilization in the first quarter of 2014 (69.3%) was 1.4% than the same period of 2013 (67.9%).

“To the trimestrial question regarding the current economic conditions for investment in the industrial sector, 23% of businesses surveyed in February affirmed that  economic conditions are favorable, which compares favorably with the 19% that was registered at the end of the previous year,” read the report.

Industry questions

The reality of Colombia’s industrial situation may not be as positive.

Mazda recently announced it would be shuttering their last Colombian plant, highlighting the tough times the manufacturing sector is having.

MORE: Mazda to shutter their car plant in Colombia

Colombian industry showed a slight increase in production in January, the first time there have been two months of positive figures since 2011.

Industrial production, excluding coffee processing, showed an increase of 0.1% compared with the same period a year ago, according to DANE figures from January.

MORE: As peso weakens, Colombia’s manufacturers still hurting over US trade deal

In the last 12 months to January 2014, the actual production of manufacturing, excluding coffee processing, decreased 1.6% and the number of people employed by the sector decreased 2.2%.


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