BMI View: BMI forecasts an expansion in container and gross tonnage handling across all Colombian ports in 2015, cementing the strong growth seen in 2014. That said, domestic container demand will be more muted than we expected, and a weaker performance by Colombia's crucial hydrocarbon sector will weigh heavily on headline real GDP growth over the coming years . We have revised down our real GDP forecast for 2015 from 4.9% to 3.9%.
A weaker performance by Colombia's crucial hydrocarbon sector will weigh heavily on headline real GDP growth over coming years. As a result, after growth of an estimated 4.9% in 2014, we forecast real GDP expansion of 3.9% in 2015, rising only slightly to 4.0% in 2016.
These forecasts are significant downward revisions from our previous forecasts for growth of 4.9% in 2015 and 4.7% in 2016, and put us well below Bloomberg consensus for 2015 (4.5%). Nevertheless, we expect strong growth at the country's ports, based on robust growth in key sectors, such as infrastructure, construction and mining.
Headline Industry Data
The port of Cartagena will see total tonnage volume increase by 7.9% to 23.0mn tonnes in 2015, and will average growth of 5.9% to 2019.
Container traffic at Cartagena will grow by 3% to 2.28mn twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in 2015. Growth to 2019 will average 5.6%.
Volume at the Pacific port of Buenaventura will rise by 3.3% to 12.1mn tonnes in 2015, while container traffic will rise by 4.8%, to reach 699,179TEUs.
Key Industry Trends
Oil Prices to Weigh on Port Volumes
A weaker performance by the hydrocarbon sector will affect real GDP growth, and put pressure on port volumes. A difficult below-ground picture and uncertain security environment will temper Colombia's crude production growth. This will be exacerbated by structurally lower oil prices. We forecast that WTI will average USD52.0 per barrel (bbl) in 2015 and USD56.0/bbl in 2016, and that Brent will average USD55.0/bbl and USD60.0/bbl....