On Latin America’s Pacific rim, deepening free trade appears to be the name of the game, as the region’s pro-markets countries of Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Chile – have agreed to drop most tariffs to speed the consolidation of the Pacific Alliance.
At least, that is what Colombia’s President, Juan Manuel Santos, told beyondbrics on the sidelines of the group’s latest summit in the Colombian city of Cali on Thursday. Continue reading »
By Samuel George of the Bertelsmann Foundation
They come by it honestly. Much like their European relatives, Latin American leaders have a sweet tooth for the summit, the annual meeting and the commission. Lofty goals and promises of solidarity are sealed with vigorous handshakes, bear hugs and kisses on the cheek. But beyond the ubiquitous photos of smiling presidents, few concrete achievements emerge from these gatherings.
In theory, inchoate integration projects abound, from the regional Mercosur to the continental Unasur. In fact, the dream of a more unified Latin America has progressed little since Simon Bolívar crisscrossed the Andes in the early 19th century. This could be changing. Continue reading »
Spain’s economic crisis is writ large in the Inter-American Development Bank’s latest statistics on remittance flows to Latin America.
For years, thousands of Bolivians, Ecuadoreans and Colombians have been among those to seek work in Spain, legally or illegally. Whether young educated professionals, or poor maids, cleaners and construction labourers, these workers could see the advantages of saving Euros that would magically multiply back home into pesos or dollars or bolivianos. Continue reading »
Colombia’s central bank has finally decided to take a breather.
After cutting rates for five consecutive months – including last month’s surprise 50bps cut – the bank decided on Friday to hold its benchmark rate at 3.25 per cent. Continue reading »
Grupo Sura of Colombia has acquired a 50 per cent stake in Peru’s BBVA Horizonte pension fund for $514m.
Sura, which snapped up ING’s Latin American pensions assets in 2011 for $3.85bn and already controls another Peruvian pension fund, Integra, named Profuturo AFP, controlled by Scotiabank, as its strategic partner in the deal. Continue reading »
Concrete returns are hard to come by in these troubles times, so Cementos Argos’s $1bn share offering is shaping up to be popular.
Colombia’s leading cement producer increased its profits last year by 5.9 per cent, to $218m, on the back of strong investments in Panama, the United States and Colombia. Continue reading »
“Magical realism” will be familiar to many as the Latin American 20th century literary movement perhaps most typified by Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez and his international bestseller, One Hundred Years of Solitude.
Literary globetrotters are already familiar with the Colombian town of Cartagena, home to the first overseas offshoot of the UK’s Hay Festival of Literature. So perhaps the Colombian government thought it wasn’t stepping too far beyond the bounds of literary taste to choose “magical realism” as a new advertising slogan for its tourism industry. Continue reading »
After two sluggish quarters of growth, Colombia’s finance minister, Mauricio Cárdenas (pictured), is determined to reignite the economy – even if that means cornering banks to lower interest rates.
That’s understandable. After all, while the country’s central bank has been busy slashing interest rates since last July, the banks have not really been passing on the cuts. Continue reading »
By Jorge Rosenblut of Endesa Chile
In January I had the honor to attend a summit of the European Union and the Community of Latin-American and Caribbean Nations in Santiago, Chile. As with many such meetings, the 45 heads of state and prime ministers captured the attention of the international media. But what went almost unnoticed was a seismic shift in Latin American integration — a group of four countries that stood together in what promises to be a historic breakthrough for the region. Continue reading »
Ding, ding, ding. Get ready to rumble.
Sir Richard Branson, the airline to mobile phone billionaire, has landed in Colombia with the launch on Wednesday of his Virgin Mobile services in the country.
The move will pit Sir Richard against Carlos Slim, the world’s richest man and who through his flagship company, América Móvil, dominates the telecoms sector in Latin America. Continue reading »
The move by Mineros, Colombia’s leading gold producer to acquire a majority stake in Nicaragua’s Hemco, highlights two trends — one is the arrival of billions of dollars of Colombian capital in Central America, the other Nicaragua’s efforts to boost its growing mining industry. Continue reading »
Colombia sure likes to keep the markets on their toes.
On Friday, the country cut its benchmark interest rate for the fifth consecutive month. While previous cuts came in at 25bps increments, the central bank took out the axe this time around and chop rates by 50bps to 3.25 per cent – the lowest in Latin America. Continue reading »
Colombia is recovering… by baby steps.
The Andean nation’s gross domestic product grew 4 per cent last year, beating the country’s central bank forecast of 3.3 to 3.9 per cent – but still much lower than the 6.6 per cent of 2011. Continue reading »
Get ready to rumble. Colombia is stepping up the fight against the appreciation of its currency, the peso.
Having spent nearly $5bn last year buying dollars to stem the peso’s rise, the government this week said it was willing to deploy double the amount – or $10bn – this year keep the currency in check. Continue reading »