Colombia economy

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

Colombia’s central bank on Friday left its key interest rate unchanged at 3.25 per cent for a sixth straight month. The decision, which was widely expected following last week’s strong growth data, was unanimous.

In its bid to revive economic activity – which had slowed after reaching almost 6 per cent in 2011 – the central bank cut its benchmark rate by 2 percentage points between July 2012 and March 2013, to the lowest among major Latin American economies. Continue reading »

After strikes, protests, and a lacklustre start to the financial year, here comes some good news for the Colombian economy.

Led by agriculture, the country’s GDP in the second quarter grew 4.2 per cent compared to the same period last year, beating analysts’ expectations by almost a full percentage point. Quarter-on-quarter, the economy grew 2.2 per cent.

“Colombia’s economy is doing well, better than what analysts think,” the country’s finance minister, Mauricio Cárdenas, told beyondbrics in his office. Continue reading »

Medellín was once one of the most dangerous cities in Latin America. But thanks in part to the efforts of its business community, Colombia’s second city has undergone a dramatic transformation. Andres Schipani reports.

Colombia’s economy is still struggling to regain its momentum.

Data released Thursday showed the Andean country grew only 2.8 per cent in the first quarter this year, compared with the 5.4 per cent expansion in the same quarter last yearContinue reading »

Juan Manuel Santos (pictured), president of Colombia, is often accused of being over ambitious. It’s an accusation, he told an FT conference in London on Friday, ‘Investing in the New Colombia’, that he welcomes.

He is certainly proud of his work rate since he came to office in August 2010, saying he has achieved most of his plans for his four-year term in less than three. Perhaps most ambitiously, he wants peace talks between the government and Colombia’s Marxist Farc guerrillas to end Colombia’s half century of internal conflict by the end of this year. Continue reading »

Colombia has long been atypical in Latin America. During the second half of the 20thcentury, it never suffered an economic meltdown or populist binge, let alone the hyperinflation or the coup d’états for which the region was often then known. It has the region’s oldest democratic tradition, and has never defaulted on its foreign debt since the early part of the last century.

But the country has been called “an almost-failed state” – during the worst of the drug wars in the 1990s and the peak, only a decade ago, in the country’s half-century internal conflict with Marxist guerrillas. More recently, it has developed into one of the world’s emerging economic powers. A new FT special report examines this “New Colombia”. 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 »

Colombia has hit another milestone. On Wednesday, Standard & Poor’s raised the Andean country’s foreign debt rating to BBB, the second-lowest investment grade, putting its rating on par with Brazil, Mexico, Peru and Panama.

“Reaching this grade is a landmark for Colombia,” said Mauricio Cárdenas, the finance minister. 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 »

Here we go again: Colombia’s central bank cut the Andean country’s benchmark rate for a fourth straight month. Policymakers trimmed a quarter point to 3.75 per cent – the lowest in Latin America.

In the longest easing cycle in over four years, starting in July last year, the very orthodox Banco de la República has chopped 150 basis points off its overnight lending rate in an attempt to reignite a slowing economy. Continue reading »

Colombia’s “locomotive”, as the government likes to call its ambitious mining and energy plans, appears to be getting a cog in the wheel.

On Thursday, labourers in the Andean country’s largest coal exporting mine, Cerrejón – a joint venture between BHP Billiton, Anglo American and Xstrata – went on strike over wages and benefits. Continue reading »