Colombia economy

Sunday’s referendum, when the Colombian people will decide whether to support their government’s peace agreement with the Farc rebels after half a century of conflict that has cost 260,000 lives and displaced millions, promises to be a watershed moment for the country.

A yes vote would mean more than an end to 50 years of violence. It would also provide a shot in the arm for Colombia’s stuttering economy and opportunities for UK businesses in the aftermath of Brexit. Read more

Colombia’s second-largest rebel group, the National Liberation Army (ELN), said on Wednesday that it is willing to hold peace talks with the government of President Juan Manuel Santos, fuelling hopes the country is poised to turn the page on five decades of bloodshed.

If the talks go ahead, the ELN would consider quitting the use of force, according to remarks on video by the group’s aged leader Nicolás Rodríguez Bautista. That could result in an end to rebel attacks on pipelines that caused oil output losses officially put at around $500m last year.  Read more

Colombia’s economy may have suffered a hiccup, but it continues to outperform its regional peers amid a slowing of the commodities boom.

The national statistics agency said on Tuesday that gross domestic product grew 4.3 per cent in the second quarter of the year, below analysts expectations. Read more

Colombia’s proposed higher wealth tax has been seen by some as vindication of Thomas Pikketty’s best-seller, Capital in the Twenty-First Century. But others, including some within the Colombian government, say the move to raise taxes on the rich simply brings an existing tax up to date.

Still, certain government insiders say Piketty’s writings have been much seen on the desks of senior officials in recent months. In his book, Piketty argues that inequality is a central feature of capitalism that can only be reversed through state intervention. Colombia, in spite of some recent advances, is still one of the world’s most unequal societies. Read more

Colombia’s Banco de la República, the central bank, raised the benchmark rate a quarter point to 4.25 per cent on Thursday. This is the fourth consecutive hike, as the bank has been withdrawing monetary stimulus, amid faster growth in the fastest growing of the major Latin American economiesRead more

Moody’s Investors Service, the credit rating agency, on Monday raised Colombia’s sovereign rating one notch to Baa2 from Baa3. This puts the Andean country in the same rating league as Brazil. The outlook is stable.

Colombia has been reaping the benefits of an improved security situation, macroeconomic credibility, and the country’s debt secured investment grade status from the major credit-rating firms. Read more

Recently re-elected Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos starts his second term in less than a month. As he won the election partly thanks to backing from an array of political actors – from leftists, to conservatives, to liberals – many think he may have some expensive favours to repay.

But foreign investors will probably be relieved that on Monday afternoon he gave his finance minister, Mauricio Cárdenas, a vote of confidence and reappointed him in the post. Read more

It all seems to be going so well for Colombia: its national football team has reached the quarter finals of the World Cup for the first time, the economy grew by a startling 6.4 per cent in the first quarter, while unemployment hit a new low last week at 8.8 per cent, and economists say confidence is riding high.

But officials appear to be worrying once again about one of the hazards of economic success: the appreciation of the peso. Read more

The monetary policy committee of Colombia’s central bank on Friday raised the benchmark interest rate a quarter percentage point to 4 per cent. This is the third hike in three months.

Colombia’s economy has been performing strongly and inflation has been accelerating, leading to a monetary tightening, say analysts. Read more

Colombia’s GDP data for the first quarter of 2014 came earlier than expected on Thursday morning, as if to be sure to avoid any distraction during the national team’s World Cup match against Ivory Coast.

The numbers gave Colombians a reason to cheer ahead of the game: the national statistics agency said GDP grew 6.4 per cent, more than analysts expectedRead more

Another month, another hike: the monetary policy committee of Colombia’s central bank on Friday night voted unanimously to raise the benchmark interest rate a quarter percentage point for the second straight month, to 3.75 per cent. José Dario Uribe, the bank’s chief, told reporters that “the gradual adjustment of the expansive monetary policy reduces the need for abrupt changes in the future and ensures macroeconomic stability”. Read more

Colombians head to the polls on Sunday with the leading candidates for president separated by a shrinking margin that has suddenly made the race too close to call. Instead of a shoo-in for the centrist incumbent, Juan Manuel Santos, the campaign has turned into a bitter “dirty war” over the handling of a peace process with Marxist insurgents of the Farc that could finally end one of the world’s longest-running armed conflicts. Read more

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. Read more

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. Read more

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. Read more

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. Read more

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. Read more

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. Read more

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 yearRead more