Por: Miguel Carrillo Naranjo - Hamkke Consulting
Colombia’s economic improvement is in an excellent path with a GDP growing above the world average 5,9% in 2011, inflation under control, external trade robust in 2012 the total exports were approximately US$60 billion; the totals of imports were nearly US$58 billion (DANE, 2012). The FDI is booming surpassing in 2012 US$16 billion, make the external sector a pillar for the country’s development, also supported by the FTAs recently into force with Canada (August 2011), Sweden and Liechtenstein (July 2011), and USA in (May 2012).
Colombia uses a floating exchange rate system. There are two exchange restrictions, the first one is from a tax on outward remittances of nonresident profits earned before 2007 and that have been retained in the country for less than five years), the second exchange restriction is from the special regime for the hydrocarbon sector, in which branches of foreign corporations are required to either surrender their export proceeds to the authorities or agree to a government limitation on their access to the foreign exchange market.
The Colombian peso has been strengthened since 2007 due to high levels of capital inflows mainly because of the oil and mining boom. Also the interest rate differential with developed countries caused by the financial crisis when these economies cut to zero their interest rates trying to revive their economies induce foreign capital flows into the countries seeking better revenues, and somehow the currency war played by world bigger exporters affected the peso revaluation.
Colombia’s government strengthened its fiscal policy; in 2011 were approved fiscal reforms aimed to improve the country’s performance, such as a fiscal rule to support existing fiscal responsibility legislation aim to reduce the nation’s debt to 2.3% of GDP in 2014, and keep it below 1% of GDP from 2022, and the creation of a national sovereign wealth fund to save revenues from natural resources.
Another reform was the inclusion of fiscal sustainability as a constitutional criterion, and a revamping of the allocation and use of royalty payments that will generate important savings and will help to distribute these resources in the whole country and not only into the producers’ regions.
The policy rate was kept at a historical low of 3% from May 2010 to February 2011 as a response to the financial crisis but in late February of 2011, the central bank begun to raise it in order to control inflation and to control the commercial and consumer credit, but the second semester of 2012, the industry begun to slow down, and the central bank start to cut it again, the last change until now, was on February 21 2013 to 3.75%.
The good economic performance of the country has contributed to the reduction of gross debt levels from 50% of GDP in 2003 to 28.5% of GDP in 2010. IMF executive Directors commended the Colombian authorities for their sound macroeconomic management and strong institutional framework. Moreover, assess that Colombia has a broad set of macro prudential tools that is more extensive than in their regional peers, and there is no need of a legal mandate for macro prudential policy, which is the current practice in many countries in the region (IMF, 2011).
It is limited to lending transactions to the government, primarily through country bonds and is commonly known as sovereign debt. This kind of risk is mainly measured by the leading risk rating agencies which methodology focus in reflecting the probability of the debtor to default on its obligation. Even though this is a credit risk measure, many investor take it into account in the FDI decision making given that the methodology used by the three leading risk rating agencies examine the country’s economic, political and governmental performance.
In the first semester of 2011 Colombia received the confirmation of an investment grade rating by the three main global risk rating agencies due to the country’s positive economic and financial situation.
Euromoney country risk makes a macro-assessment analysis that evaluates economic, political, structural assessments, access to capital, credit ratings and debt indicators. The higher the score the risk is less, the scores are to March 2012.
Euromonitor International also makes a macro-assessment analysis through six types of risk as shown in Table 20. Energy risk is about the capability of the country to have energy supply and environmental risk is about natural disasters that could have economic impact.
Regional Benchmark Doing Business
The following Table shows the DB rank for the principal economies in the region, this rank is out of 32 countries in the Latin American and Caribbean Region where Chile, Peru and Colombia are rank in the first three positions, as the friendliest countries for doing business in the region.
The analysis of the competitiveness report and economic freedom in Colombia shows the ranks in the three main sources that creates indexes to measure the business environment in the world for 2011-2012.