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Country Insights

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Would Petro be a transformer, or a disrupter?
COLOMBIA - Report 22 Dec 2021 1 response
Loans disbursed in December 2020 deteriorated much faster than those granted before the pandemic. It looks as though the end of 2020 marked the peak in the speed of credit quality deterioration. Loans disbursed in July 2021 seem marginally better, in terms of quality deterioration, than those dis...

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​The risks of March
COLOMBIA - Report 19 Nov 2021
Overall economic activity hit during this year’s national strike has regained its momentum and, since June, is exceeding 2019 pre-crisis levels. Tertiary activities, which could be broadly understood as aggregating services, is the driving force in the economy right now. In primary activities, ag...

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Duque’s sad swan song
COLOMBIA - Report 12 Oct 2021
As President Iván Duque starts walking into the sunset (a new president will take office in 10 months), a pressing concern apparently plagues his thoughts: no incumbent would like to see voters exhibit change of heart and elect a successor from the opposite side of the political spectrum. But giv...

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Nearing recovery
COLOMBIA - Report 10 Sep 2021
Q2 GDP numbers were anxiously awaited, given the collective desperate need to determine whether Colombia had returned to pre-crisis economic activity levels. Dane data shows that the country is almost there in aggregate terms, though there are significant sectoral variations. In general, services...

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Life in the “post” country
COLOMBIA - Report 18 Aug 2021
Has economic activity returned to 2019 levels? Based on the data, the answer is a qualified “yes.” The index for economic activity rebounded in H1 2021, after falling around 7.8% in 2020, with services mainly saving the day. If social unrest doesn’t resurface with enough intensity to damage econo...

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Reality bites
COLOMBIA - Report 02 Jul 2021 1 response
The new MTFF, inconsistent with keeping investment grade in place, is proposing a drastic increase in fiscal space for the next decade. The central government deficit should fall from 8.6% of GDP in 2021 to 7% in 2022, and then converge, by 2027, to deficits of 2.5%-2.7%. But we show that the “b...

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Sleepless in Cali
COLOMBIA - Report 04 Jun 2021
Destabilization via vandalism, roadblocks in major cities and paralysis of the crucial Buenaventura seaport has been effective, proving Colombia quite vulnerable to obstructions in key logistical corridors. The country may be at a critical moment, similar to that of 1903, when Panama broke away. ...

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Alborotation
COLOMBIA - Report 07 May 2021
Alboroto is agitation, excitement, racket, disturbance, commotion, ruckus and finally, riot. This is what President Iván Duque and his now-ex Finance Minister Alberto Carrasquilla generated with their ill-fated tax reform proposal, aimed at redistributing income from the middle and affluent class...

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A humiliating political defeat
COLOMBIA - In Brief 02 May 2021
Following weekend consultations with political leaders in the wake of nationwide protests that lasted three days, president Duque finally came to terms with the fact that Minister Carrasquilla’s explosively unpopular attempt at widening both the VAT and the personal income tax base has to be scra...

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Fear the wolf and the shepherd
COLOMBIA - Report 30 Mar 2021
These are times of flawed fiscal calculations, in which projections’ failure to match subsequent reality are having negative consequences. The 2020 budget was heavily under-executed, with more than COP 41 trillion (about 4 pp of GDP) of budgeted monies left undeployed. This is a very poor perform...

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The dangers of deafness to suffering
COLOMBIA - Report 01 Mar 2021 2 responses
Last year’s 6.8% contraction represents, not surprisingly, the worst economic downturn in Colombian history – and only the fourth year in more than a century in which the economy has posted negative results. Though most sectors, especially manufacturing and commerce, followed overall GDP, agricul...

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Colombia, Mexico, Panama and Venezuela: Quasi-sovereigns in Latin America and the evolving relationship with the sovereign
COLOMBIA - Report 26 Feb 2021
​In our live webinar, Juan Carlos Echeverry, Mauricio Gonzalez, Marco Fernandez and Ruth de Krivoy discuss the risks and opportunities to watch for in the sovereign/quasi-sovereign relationship in Colombia, Mexico, Panama and Venezuela. Our webinar is moderated by Joe Kogan, Head of Latin America...

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Surprise picks for Central Bank board
COLOMBIA - In Brief 03 Feb 2021
President Duque announced today that Ana Fernanda Maiguashca and Gerardo Hernández, members of the Board of Banco de la República since 2013 and 2017, respectively, will be replaced by Bibiana Taboada and Mauricio Villamizar.The year started with wide speculation as to who was going to be replace...

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Taxes hikes and ISA sale to raise pandemic funds
COLOMBIA - Report 01 Feb 2021
Increasing the scope of the welfare state and strengthening the state presence nationally, two key tenets of the 1991 Constitution, have raised government spending over the last three decades. Given the public spending pressures generated by the pandemic, and the need to start a fiscal adjustment...

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Introspection at the end of 2020
COLOMBIA - Report 23 Dec 2020
Balance of payments data show that the current account deficit continued to shrink, from a 3.6% of GDP deficit at the start of 2020, to 3% in Q2, then 2.7% in Q3. While this reduces the economy’s exposure to financing gaps, the reduction deserves a closer look. The improvement in remittances and ...