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POLL-Colombian economy will have softened contraction in Q3

BOGOTA, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Colombia’s economy will have contracted 8.7% in the third quarter from the same period the year before, an improvement on the prior quarter thanks to the lifting of a long coronavirus quarantine, a Reuters poll showed on Thursday.

The Andean country’s gross domestic product contracted 15.7% in the second quarter.

The national statistics agency is set to publish the July to September GDP figure on Nov. 17. The economy grew 3.5% in the third quarter of 2019.

Though the global COVID-19 pandemic kept slowing economic activity in the third quarter, including via a reduction in domestic demand, the loosening of restrictions allowed most sectors to reopen, analysts said.

“The entertainment, construction and tax collection sectors will have been highly affected. Nevertheless, the negative effect will be less than that registered in the second quarter, given the reopening in September helped reduce the impact,” said Carolina Monzon, head economist for Colombia at Itau.

“Going forward, the recovery of confidence and monetary and fiscal stimulus signal a gradual recovery,” she said.

From the second quarter, the economy in the third quarter will have expanded 9%, those polled said.

The economy will shrink 7% this year, the analysts said, in line with central bank predictions but less optimistic than the government, which predicts contraction of only 5.5%.

GDP will expand 4.6% in 2021 and 3.5% in 2022, those surveyed said. (Reporting by Nelson Bocanegra Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by David Gregorio)