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The Pacific Alliance is all the rage in Latin America. As today’s FT special report shows, the members of this newly-formed free trade pact include some of the region’s best-managed and most reform-minded economies: Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. These countries do not represent some kind of Platonic ideal. They suffer problems aplenty. But their governments do pride themselves on hard-nosed business dealing rather than gassy ideology. That being the case, is there a way for portfolio investors to actually trade the idea? Continue reading »

In another sign that Colombia’s economy is on track, data released on Thursday by the national statistics agency show GDP growth of 4.3 per cent last year, beating market consensus by a whisker. Continue reading »

Peru's Ollanta Humala, Chile's Sebastián Piñera, Colombia's Juan Manuel Santos, Mexico's Enrique Peña Nieto and Costa Rica's Laura Chinchilla in Cartagena, Colombia

Peru's Ollanta Humala, Chile's Sebastián Piñera, Colombia's Juan Manuel Santos, Mexico's Enrique Peña Nieto and Costa Rica's Laura Chinchilla in Cartagena, Colombia

It’s all about free trade. The Pacific Alliance, a growing bloc in Latin America that stands among the world’s 10 largest economies, sealed a deal on Monday to eliminate tariffs on 92 per cent of goods and services in a move that distances it further from some of its more protectionist neighbours.

“I don’t think there has been an integration process that has taken decisions so fast as the Pacific Alliance has done,” Colombia’s President, Juan Manuel Santos, told beyondbrics. Continue reading »

Far be it from Latin countries to indulge in some pre-World Cup schadenfreude. Nonetheless, different emerging markets have clearly been affected very differently by the recent bout of market turbulence. Take those distant neighbours, Colombia and Argentina. Two years ago, finance ministry officials in Bogotá threw a cat among the pigeons when they declared that the Colombian economy was larger than Argentina’s, making it the third biggest in the region (after Brazil and Mexico). Buenos Aires quickly harrumphed back: “Not so!” For one, that might only be the case if you converted Argentine nominal GDP into US dollars using black market (and thus illegal) exchange rates, rather than the “true” official one. Continue reading »

While once the Colombian coastal city of Cartagena was raided by Sir Francis Drake in the days of the gold-grabbing deeds of Elizabethan navigators, the page was turned on that era of history and for almost a decade now it has been home to a successful offshoot of the UK’s Hay Festival of Literature. Now it seems that the country’s links with the UK are about to be entering yet another new chapter. Continue reading »

By Pan Kwan Yuk and Andres Schipani

Colombia on Tuesday became the latest country to tap the market’s ferocious demand for emerging market debt after it successfully sold $2bn of 30-year bonds abroad. Continue reading »

Ecopetrol's Gutierrez. Will he stay or will he go?

“What’s going on at Ecopetrol?” It’s an often-heard question about Colombia’s state-controlled oil company, producer of most of the country’s 1m barrels per day output.

Ecopetrol’s shares have fallen by 42 per cent in New York over the past year and have come under renewed pressure over the past month. With rumours that its chief executive is on the way out, all eyes are on an extraordinary shareholder meeting set for January 23. Continue reading »

It looks like Colombia’s economy is coming back to the boil.

Official growth figures for the third quarter show that the economy grew 5.1 per cent, compared with the same quarter a year earlier, beating the consensus forecast of 4.3 per cent. Continue reading »

Colombia’s conservative ‘grand inspector general’ is on fire. Two weeks ago he sacked the financial regulator and banned him from holding public office for 12 years, over the collapse of the country’s largest brokerage. Even more strikingly, on Monday he ousted Bogotá’s leftwing mayor and banned him from holding public office for 15 years over an alleged mismanagement of rubbish collection a year ago. Continue reading »

Another vote of confidence for Colombia: on Tuesday, Fitch Ratings, the credit rating agency, upped its foreign debt rating to ‘BBB’, putting Colombia in the same league as Brazil, although behind Peru, Mexico and the region’s leader, Chile. Continue reading »

Research company Wealth-X has released its annual report on “ultra high net worth individuals”. (For those prefer plain English, they mean the stinking rich.)

The super wealthy in the west have got even richer over the past year. In fact the super rich have got richer just about everywhere – bar in eight emerging and frontier countries including China, Brazil and Syria. Continue reading »

In the eyes of many, when it comes to business, Colombia is a beacon of judicial security and transparent regulation, sometimes to the point of being overly legalistic. For better or worse, that view was reinforced on Thursday.

The country’s ‘grand inspector general’ sacked the financial regulator and banned him from holding public office for more than a decade over last year’s debacle surrounding Interbolsa, until then Colombia’s biggest brokerage. Continue reading »

This summer’s sell-off in emerging market currencies hasn’t been bad news for everyone.

In the case of Colombia’s Ecopetrol, Latin America’s second largest oil company by market capitalisation at $97.4bn, the decline in the Colombian peso against the dollar has helped bump up third quarter profit by nearly 20 per cent. Continue reading »

Pesos or dollars? That is the question

The billion-dollar question on Thursday for Colombia’s Grupo Aval is whether to stick to a plan to issue new shares locally or opt for some sort of local-international mix.

Aval, Colombia’s largest banking group that owns Banco de Bogota, announced on Wednesday that it was considering the sale of 2.4 trillion pesos ($1.3bn) in shares on the local market. Continue reading »

Aside from some dynastic billionaires, until recently new wealth was viewed with suspicion in Colombia, being a possible result of drug trafficking.

But times seem to have changed. Although drug kingpins still exist, they are less conspicuous – gone are the times of Pablo Escobar’s hippos and Rasguño’s Ferraris – while legitimate fortunes appear to be on the rise. That’s according to WealthInsight, a research company, that claims that in recent times Colombia has created millionaires quicker than Brazil and Mexico. Continue reading »