`Colombia now South America's No. 2 economy'

`Colombia now South America's No. 2 economy'  Bogota: Colombia has moved ahead of Argentina to become South America's second-largest economy, the outgoing Colombian finance minister said Friday.

"Colombia surpassed Argentina in GDP, we are the second economy in South America after Brazil and the third in size (in Latin America) after Brazil and Mexico," Juan Carlos Echeverry told Caracol Radio.

After pulling ahead of oil-rich Venezuela in the first two years of President Juan Manuel Santos' administration, "now we pass the Argentine economy", Echeverry said.

"Colombia is moving forward with a lot of impetus. We are doing things right and advancing," he added, expressing confidence that the success will continue under the man replacing him in the finance post, current Mines and Energy Minister Mauricio Cardenas.

Colombia will end 2012 with a gross domestic product of USD 362 billion, compared with projected Argentine GDP of USD 347 billion, Echeverry said in an interview with the online edition of Bogota daily El Tiempo.

Echeverry, an economist by training, is leaving the Colombian government for a high-level post with the International Monetary Fund.

IANS