Tuesday, December 18, 2018

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The ever-worsening economic and social crisis in Venezuela -- caused by the criminal Castro-Chavista narco-communist dictatorship -- is now likely to trigger out-migration of about 25% of the entire population, according to a shocking new study by Washington, DC-based Brookings Institution.


Medellin-based credit union Cooperativa Financiera de Antioquia (CFA) revealed this month in a filing with Colombia’s Superfinanciera regulatory agency that it won a favorable AA rating for long-term debt from Bogota-based debt rater Value & Risk Rating (VRR).

CFA also won a favorable “VrR1” rating from VRR for short-term debt risk, according to the filing.

The filing, posted by the Superintendencia on December 10, shows that CFA’s net income through August 2018 rose to COP$4.77 billion (US$1.5 million), up from COP$3.99 billion (US$1.26 million) for the same period in 2017.

“The AA rating indicates a high capacity to pay interest and return capital, with a limited incremental risk compared to other entities or rated issues with the highest category,” according to VVR.

“On the other hand, the rating VrR1 corresponds to the highest category in investment grade, which indicates that the entity [CFA] enjoys a high probability in the payment of the obligations in the agreed terms and terms. The liquidity of the institution and the protection for third parties is good. Additionally, the ability to pay will not be affected by changes in the sector or the economy,” VVR added.

Among credit unions, CFA, founded in the year 2000, is ranked fourth by level of assets and assets within the five financial cooperatives of Colombia, VVR noted.

The company mainly caters to lower-income and middle-income clients (strata 1, 2 and 3 in Colombia’s system of income rankings) and has most of its business here in Antioquia.

CFA has 10 main offices, 498 employees, and 68 correspondent offices in seven Colombian departments (states), and continues to expand throughout Colombia.

In total, 85% of the loan portfolio typically goes to salaried employees, commerce, transport and agriculture, according to the filing. The top-20 loan clients represented just 4.27% of the total portfolio, the filing shows.

During 2019, CFA plans to start-up the second phase of its cell-phone-based “Mobile channel,” which seeks to expand the transactional portfolio; complete the modernization and optimization of its “virtual office” platform; and continue with the development of its “Networks” project, according to the filing.


The Medellin City Council on November 26 voted 19-2 to approve a COP$5.3 trillion (US$1.6 billion) 2019 budget mainly favoring the city’s most vulnerable citizens.

More than 78% of the budget goes to public education, health, infrastructure and “social inclusion,” according to the city’s Treasury Secretary Orlando Uribe Villa.

The budget includes a COP$77 billion (US$23.7 million) addition over the Mayor’s originally submitted budget in order to complete infrastructure projects including a new public hospital in the low-income Buenos Aires neighborhood, the new Alejandro Echavarria public school and the “Buen Comienzo” kindergarten head-start program for poorer children in the Loreto neighborhood.

Medellin leads all major cities in Colombia by funding public education from pre-kindergarten through eleventh grade and then subsidizing college studies for many lower-income children.

Electric-Bus Fleet to Expand

On a related front, Medellin Mayor Federico Gutierrez announced November 20 that the city has asked vendors to submit bids for a contract worth COP$75 billion (US$23 million) for 55 pure-electric transit buses for the “Metroplus” bus rapid transit (BRT) system, which currently employs 77 natural-gas-fueled buses and just one electric bus.

If any bids eventually qualify, then the city could start acquiring these new electric buses by end-2019, according to the Mayor.

The zero-emissions buses would have capacity for 80 passengers, have a 280-kilometers range between recharges, be capable of climbing steep inclines in some of Medellin’s neighborhoods, and be capable of battery recharge in four hours, according to the bid proposal.

Medellín aims to slash air pollution by converting more of its vehicle fleet to zero-emissions electric power. The city currently suffers poor air quality mainly because of grossly excessive emissions from cheap, poor-technology motorcycles along with ancient, obsolete diesel-powered trucks and buses, as well as obsolete, high-emitting cars.

If any of the bus-bids are successful, then Medellin soon will have the largest electric-powered transit fleet in Colombia -- and one of the largest in Latin America, Mayor Gutierrez boasted.

The city’s current “Metroplus” BRT system runs through 14.7-kilometers-long circuits on “Line 1” and "Line 2,” from the University of Medellin (Belén neighborhood) through the city center and then onward to Aranjuez neighborhood.

Medellin also has Colombia’s only all-electric “Metro” elevated-train system, tied into its growing, all-electric “Metrocable” aerial tram networks plus the electric “Tranvia” roadway tram system.


Antioquia Mining Secretary Dora Elena Balvin revealed at the 2018 edition of the annual Colombia Gold Symposium (CGS) here that Antioquia continues to dominate national gold production – and is likely to expand output dramatically in coming years.

One reason for optimism is the well-underway development of Continental Gold’s massive mining project at Buritica, Antioquia, as Continental chief financial officer Paul Begin told the 350 CGS delegates here in a November 13 presentation.

The high-tech, environmentally and socially responsible project – which has won high praise from the community as well as from local, departmental and national regulatory agencies -- will become Colombia’s biggest gold mine when it hits full production in 2021, Begin explained.

Production at Buritica is now forecast at 300,000 ounces of gold per year, tapping reserves estimated at 3.86 million ounces, or 8.75 grams-equivalent of gold per ton of rock mined at the site.

Continental also foresees that its mining reserve here has a “global resource estimate of more than 9 million ounces” at 10.26 grams-equivalent per ton of rock mined.

Favorable geology, experienced leadership and high technology are seen delivering production costs at less-than US$600 per ounce of gold produced, with pre-production capital costs of US$475 million to US$515 million, he explained.

Construction at the project is now 38% complete. Global mining giant Newmont Mining recently took a 19.9% stake in Continental, investing C$109 million, while RK Mine Finance has put-up C$275 million in debt finance plus C$25 million in equity, he showed.

At year-end 2017, Antioquia’s gold production hit 634,655 ounces, or 46.4% of national production, Antioquia Mining Secretary Balvin explained here. Ten municipalities in Antioquia account for 92% of all production, she added.

What’s more, Antioquia now has an estimated gold reserve totaling more than 33 million ounces, with average production of 25 grams-equivalent per ton of rock mined, she explained.

Unique in all Colombia, the Antioquia departmental government administers mining regulations, including mining titles, oversight, programs to convert irregular and illegal miners to legalized mining, overseeing the abolition of toxic mercury used in gold processing, promotion of both local and international investment, and promotion of socially and environmentally responsible mining, she added.

Besides the Continental Project at Buritica, other proposed large-scale gold and copper-mining projects in Antioquia include AngloGold Ashanti’s currently stalled Gramalote and Quebradona projects, she noted.

The Gramalote project at San Roque, Antioquia, is estimated to have potential production of 350,000 to 450,000 ounces of gold per year, with a resource estimate over life-of-mine at 4.22 million ounces, she noted.

AngloGold has already invested US$270 million in the project, but local opposition to date has slowed development.

As for AngloGold’s proposed Quebradona copper-mine in Jericó, Antioquia, this project is in an "advanced stage" of studies to determine the extent and quality of the resource, which includes not only copper but also gold, silver and molybdenum, she said. AngloGold has already invested US$65 million in that proposed project, she added.

As for Medellin-based Mineros S.A., its “Ciénaga Grande” and “La Ye” projects in the municipalities of El Bagre, Zaragoza, Caucasia and Nechí, Antioquia, are in “advanced exploration stages,” according to Balvin.

“During 2017, Mineros allocated the sum of COP$46.5 billion pesos [US$14 million} in the advanced exploration stage, in support of its Colombia mining operations and support for [community-based] rubber plantations,” she said.

As for Gran Colombia Gold (GCG), which including predecessor company Frontino Gold Mines has been mining gold at Segovia, Antioquia for more than 150 years, its production continues apace, as noted in a separate presentation here by GCG exploration VP Alessandro Cecchi.

GCG, which has permanent offices in Toronto and in Medellin, produced 214,439 ounces of gold in the 12-month period from September 2017 to September 2018, Cecchi said. That’s a 23% boost in output over the comparable prior 12-month period, he added.

While Colombia generally and Antioquia specifically have suffered from decades of irresponsible and illegal mining by criminal groups and mercury-spewing miners, as well as mass anti-mining protests and strikes in certain communities, “today the panorama has changed [as more communites] approve mining," Secretary Balvin said. However, instances of violence, murders and disorders still break-out, most recently in certain areas in Antioquia (see October 8, 2018 Medellin Herald, Continental Gold Honors Employees Murdered by FARC ‘Dissidents,’ Hires Top-Flight Security Agency).

In a separate presentation here, Agencia Nacional de Mineria (ANM) mining-promotion vice-president David Gonzales pointed-out that gold is 39% of all Colombian mining concessions, and Antioquia has more than two-thirds of the national gold concessions.

National gold production is expected to increase by 27% in 2020, he added.

Today, Colombia is 18th in global gold production, but fifth in Latin America. Colombia also is 42nd in global copper production, and sixth in Latin America, he said.

Gold-mining projects with already-approved environmental licenses here include Continental’s Buritica project, AngloGold Ashanti’s Gramalote project, Antioquia Gold’s Ciseneros project, and Alicant Mining’s Rionegro (Santander department) project, he said.

Other big upcoming gold-mining projects here include the Cordoba Minerals project at San Matias (Cordoba department), scheduled for 2023; Minesa’s “Soto Norte” project in Santander (currently tied-up in legal disputes over defining and controlling operations adjacent to or within the Santurban Paramo); the Miraflores Mining project at Miraflores, Risaralda, scheduled for 2021; the Batero Gold project at Batero-Quinchia, Risaralda, scheduled for 2023; the Orosur project at Anza, Antioquia, scheduled for 2021; and the Andes Resources project at Andes, Antioquia, scheduled for 2023, he said.

Colombia offers favorable incentives for mining including five-year amortization of assessments and exploration studies; tax refund certificates for miners that boost investments; public-works in-lieu of taxes; a 25% income-tax reduction for innovative R&D; discounts on sales taxes imposed on imported machinery; exemptions on payment and social-security taxes for lower-income employees; and a 25% income-tax deduction for environmental conservation measures, he said.

Obstacles Trip-Up Investment

Despite encouraging signs on several fronts, Colombia still puts-up obstacles to more-aggressive mining investment and development, as noted in a separate presentation here by Exploration Insights analyst Brent Cook.

While global demand for gold and copper continues to rise, “globally, discoveries are declining and odds [for success] are deteriorating,” Cook warned.

“Mining companies are increasingly desperate for new deposits, and Latin America is exceptionally prospective. Yet investment in exploration [here] is low, as perceived and real obstacles include political and bureaucratic problems, protests and lawsuits by non-governmental organizations, uncertainties about the rule of law, and security problems,’ he said.

“Mining investors’ money goes where it feels the investment is secure. And projects get advanced there,” he added.

In a panel discussion here featuring mining-legal experts Hernando Escobar, Hernan Rodriguez and Claudia Herrera, the panelists took note of seemingly contradictory legal decisions by Colombia’s Constitutional Court and the Council of State on whether local communities can block mining projects with “consultation” votes -- even if a project had already been earlier approved by the national government.

The Court ruled on October 12 that “consultations” aren’t the correct legal method to stop mining, and that instead a new legal scheme must be developed by Congress to ensure proper coordination between national mining regulators, local governments and regional environmental agencies.

Ironically, one week after the Court decision, Colombia’s Council of State ruled in a separate lawsuit that it’s legal for mayors to invoke such consultations -- but that the national government ultimately should decide whether to allow such mining.

Yet as legal expert Rodriguez pointed-out here, most members of Colombia's Congress represent areas where mining doesn’t exist. So they likely wouldn’t have much interest in devoting time and energy for a new law governing mining regulation, he said.

While local communities have the responsibility to develop zoning laws (planes de ordenamiento territorial, or POTs), vast areas of Colombia lack updated POTs that otherwise potentially could trip-up or else encourage local mining applications presented to the national government.

Still, if more mining companies were more aggressive and thorough in carrying-out advanced consultations with local communities – including profound examinations of economic, social and environmental impacts of any proposed project – then perhaps some of the most angry protests and "consultations" against mining in certain areas might have been averted, he added.

However, “for now, the [mining] extractive sector and the [Colombian] government do not show signs of going beyond social corporate responsibility projects,” as local analysts at Colombia Risk Monthly noted in their November 2018 newsletter.

“Therefore, confrontation between proponents and opponents of projects [in certain areas] is likely in the near term both in the legislature and on the ground,” the analysts warned.


Medellin-based textile manufacturing giant Coltejer revealed in a November 22 filing with Colombia’s Superfinanciera regulatory agency that it has hired a consultant to develop a financial restructuring plan in order to pay liabilities.

According to the filing, the company also seeks a credit worth COP$12 billion (US$3.7 million) to buy cotton feedstocks for its manufacturing plants here.

The company, whose majority shareholder is Mexico-based textile multinational Kaltex, revealed earlier this month that it posted a net loss of COP$19 billion (US$5.88 million) for third quarter (3Q) 2018, compared to a net loss of COP$7 billion (US$2.2 million) in 3Q 2017.

For the first nine months of 2018, Coltejer has posted a net loss of COP$32.7 billion (US$10 million) versus a net loss of COP$27 billion (US$8.3 million) in nine-months 2017.

The company employs 1,245 workers at two plants in the Medellin suburbs, one at Itagui and the other in Rionegro.

Textile makers in Colombia for years have been hit hard by below-cost Asian imports including contraband, resulting in heavy financial losses.


Medellin-based multinational power and utilities giant EPM announced November 27 that its board adopted a full-year 2019 budget of COP$17.4 trillion (US$5.3 billion), which includes a COP$1.1 trillion (US$337 million) payment of profits to its sole shareholder: the city of Medellin.

Another COP$1.1 trillion (US$337 million) in 2019 will go for repairs and continuing build-out of its 2.4-gigawatt “Hidroituango” hydroelectric dam in Antioquia, according to the company.

Fully 50% of the funds for the 2019 budget will come from continuing revenues (COP$8.6 trillion/US$2.6 billion); another 22% via the sale of its 10% interest in Colombian power producer ISA as well as its Chilean power and water assets (COP$3.8 trillion/US$1.16 billion); 6% from its credit resources (COP$1 trillion/US$306 million) and the remainder from other operations, including COP$438 billion (US$134 million) via dividends from national and international subsidiaries, according to the company.

Production and marketing costs will account for 32% (COP$5.5 trillion/US$ 1.7 billion) of the 2019 budget, while debt service will take 21% (COP$3.6 trillion/US $ 1.1 billion).

Operating expenses will account for 19% (COP$3.3 trillion/US$1 billion) of the budget, including payments to the city of Medellin. Other investments will consume 18% (COP$3.2 trillion/US$ 978 million) of the budget, while the remaining 10% (COP$1.8 trillion/US$550 million) will go to cash reserves, according to the company.

Credit-Line Approvals

Meanwhile, EPM announced November 22 that it won line-of-credit approvals totaling more than US$1 billion from two sources: Colombian banking giant Bancolombia as well as three divisions of global banking giant HSBC.

The Bancolombia line-of-credit for COP$1 trillion (US$313 million) will “facilitate the continuation of our investment plans in public-service infrastructure,” according to EPM.

That line of credit carries a three-year repayment term. These funds “will only be used when EPM requires them within the next 24 months,” according to the company.

Meanwhile, Colombia’s Treasury Ministry simultaneously cleared the way for EPM to sign separate contracts with three divisions of banking giant HSBC for a line-of-credit worth US$750 million, according to the company.

“Of these resources, US$215 million will be used to finance the investment plan (2014-2022) of the company and US$535 million will be used for general corporate purposes other than investment,” according to the Ministry.

Of that total, US$650 million will come from HSBC Bank USA and HSBC México S.A., while the other US$100 million will come from Grupo Financiero HSBC. Loan term is three years from the signing, at a six-month LIBOR rate plus 2.75% per year, and a 30-month availability period starting from the date of contract signing, according to the Ministry.

These new lines of credit “complement the plan to sell some assets of the company,” including EPM’s 10% stake in Colombian power generator ISA as well as Chilean power-and-water utility holdings, according to EPM.

The asset sales and new credit lines respond to future financial challenges resulting from problems with EPM’s "Hidroituango” hydroelectric project here in Antioquia.

EPM general manager Jorge Londoño de la Cuesta added that “this financing allows the company to strengthen its liquidity alternatives -- when our cash-flow requires that -- in the next 24 months.”


Medellin-based construction giant Conconcreto announced November 14 that its third quarter (3Q) 2018 net income rose 46.4% year-on-year, to COP$50 billion (US$15.6 million).

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose by 6.6%, to COP$147 billion (US$46 million), while EBITDA margin climbed to 20.9%, from 14.7% a year earlier.

Gross revenues however dipped 25% year-on-year, to COP$703 billion (US$220 million), from COP$938 billion (US$294 million) in 3Q 2017.

In a separate November 21 posting to Colombia’s Superfinanciera regulatory agency, the company pointed-out that problems with EPM’s under-construction, 2.4-gigawatt “Hidroituango” hydroelectric plant haven’t had any follow-on financial impact to date on the “CCC Ituango” construction consortium, of which Conconcreto is one of the company members. Nor do the company's recent sales of some assets have anything to do with EPM's financial problems arising from the three-year delay of power sales from that project.

In the company’s infrastructure projects segment in the latest quarter, Conconcreto explained that it has signed a deal with Colombia’s Agencia Nacional de Infraestructura (ANI) to terminate the existing “Via Pacifico” highway contract because of geological problems in the sector Loboguerrero-Mediacanoa.

A new ANI contract aims to overcome those issues – and simultaneously free Conconcreto from certain excess-cost issues arising from the geological problems.

In its highway concessions division, Conconcreto signed a deal to launch construction of a section of the Soacha-El Muña highway near Bogota.

As for the proposed “Doble Calzada Oriente” (DCO) divided highway project east of Medellin (between Sancho Paisa and El Tablazo), this project awaits a final approval from Colombia’s Treasury Ministry. Once that’s completed, the project then will be put out to bid, with Conconcreto aiming to become the construction contractor.

As for its over-all construction backlog, Conconcreto reported that as of end-September 2018, COP$1.975 trillion (US$619 million) in projects are outstanding, two-thirds of which are in infrastructure and the remaining one-third in housing.

So far this year, Conconcreto’s construction services division has focused on projects for the “Pactia” commercial real-estate venture including Hotel Corferias (Bogotá), the El Ensueño Shopping Center (Bogotá), and Cedi Colgate Palmira (Valle del Cauca).

“Execution was also focused on projects for third parties such as the Chamber of Commerce of Medellín [Poblado branch], Admininstration EPSA (Valle del Cauca), Torre Avianca Calle 26 (Bogotá), second-stage Nova (Jumbo, Valle del Cauca), and complementary buildings for the Ecocementos plant (Antioquia),” according to the company.


Medellin-based gold mining giant Mineros SA on November 20 reported a 10.2% boost year-on-year in third quarter (3Q) 2018 net income, to COP$19.7 billion (US$6 million).

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for 3Q 2018 also rose 7.6% year-on-year, while EBITDA margin rose 13.5%, according to the company.

Cash cost of operations dipped 2.9% year-on-year, to US$824 per ounce versus US$873/ounce in 3Q 2017.

A stronger U.S. dollar this year has hurt world gold prices, but Mineros managed to offset some of this penalty by dollar hedging.

Colombian alluvial output has dipped this year (down 1.9%), but 3Q 2018 operations still were profitable, with net income up 23%. Nicaragua net income has been even better in the latest quarter, up 49.7% this year versus last, and production rose 7.7%.

A pending deal announced last month with Argentina-based Yamana Gold is expected to be completed by year-end 2018. That deal and related plans to boost gold production elsewhere in South America could help Mineros win a stock listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX), coveted by major miners.

Gran Colombia Gold Results

Meanwhile, Toronto-based Gran Colombia Gold (GCG) announced November 13 that its 3Q 2018 net income rose to US$12.4 million, up sharply from a US$1 million net loss in 3Q 2017.

However, for the first nine months of 2018, GCG reported a net loss of US$13.0 million, , versus a net profit of US32 million in nine-months 2017.

“The net loss reported for the first nine months of 2018 includes $22.2 million of losses on financial instruments, primarily triggered by the extinguishment of the 2020 and 2024 debentures in the second quarter, and a $7.6 million charge for the costs associated with the offering completed in the second quarter of 2018.,” GCG explained.

In addition, “the net earnings in the first nine months of 2017 included a reversal of impairment of the Segovia [Antioquia] gold mining operations in the amount of US$45.3 million,” according to the company.

Commenting on the results, GCG executive co-chairman Serafino Iacono said: “We are very pleased with the continuing improvements in our operating and financial results and the strengthening of our financial position . . .

“Our senior debt is now down to US$88 million and our cash position increased further in the third quarter to reach US$29 million at the end of September.

“With our trailing 12-months adjusted EBITDA surpassing the US$100 million level at the end of September, our focus on our high-grade Segovia operations to drive our cash flow generation is providing the funding required to support our ongoing exploration and capital programs.

“We are encouraged by the initial exploration results we reported in October from this year’s drilling campaigns at each of Segovia, Marmato and Zancudo and we will have further results to report as these program progress,” he added.


Wall Street bond rater Fitch announced November 16 that it has affirmed Medellin’s favorable “AAA(col)” long-term debt rating despite the financial challenges facing city-owned electric utility EPM because of problems with the giant “Hidroituango” hydroelectric power project.

According to Fitch, Medellin also enjoys a “stable” debt oulook and a favorable “F1+(col)” short-term debt rating.

“The rating action is based on the financial strength of Medellín, which is a reflection of its positive fiscal performance, supported by its importance within the national economic context,” according to Fitch.

“Medellín benefits from the important capital resources coming from the dividends received from EPM [rated ‘AAA (col)’ and ‘F1 + (col)’; stable perspective], which allows the city to be more flexible to allocate funds to finance capital expenditures.

“In general, EPM dividends have represented around 20% of the total revenue of the city since 2012. The transfers to Medellin in 2017 were COP$1.01 trillion [US$319 million], in addition, COP$300 billion [US$95 million] were paid corresponding to the sale of the participation of EPM in Isagen.

“The contingency of the Hidroituango hydroelectric project has impacted EPM’s financial plan, considering the expenses related to the resolution of its technical complications and the change in [power sales revenues] projections due to the delays presented. Fitch classifies EPM transfers as capital income used exclusively to finance Medellín’s capital spending program.

“Therefore, it is not expected that the difficulties in Hidroituango will have a significant effect on the key financial indicators of Medellin in the short-to-medium term. Likewise, Medellín has a high degree of financial flexibility that allows it to make the necessary adjustments to its medium-term financial plans in a scenario of decreasing EPM financial transfers.

“The city maintains a high share of its debt in foreign currency (49.5%), whose risks are under continuous monitoring. This aspect is compensated since 36% of the indebtedness is contracted at a fixed interest rate and [Medellin] has an adequate liquidity position in which the free destination liquid resources have more than once covered claims. In addition, the Medellín administration is working to have [adequate] external debt coverage to reduce the risk exposure at the exchange rate,” Fitch found.

As for the general economic outlook, Fitch rates Medellin as “strong with stable tendency."

"Medellín plays a very important role in the country's economic and social contribution. Its contribution to the national GDP is approximately 7.3% and maintains an unemployment rate of 10% to 11%, higher than the national average," according to Fitch. “However, due to its internal migratory attractiveness, Fitch notes the existence of high investment needs in various social sectors. The city continues on the path of investments that allow improving the coverage rates of its citizens at levels above 95% in education, health and public services,” the ratings agency concluded.


Wall Street bond rater Fitch on November 14 issued a “stable” outlook for Colombian sovereign debt and simultaneously upgraded its GDP forecast to 3.3% growth in 2019 and 3.5% in 2020.

“Ivan Duque’s 2018 presidential election victory is expected to lead to continuity in the government’s monetary and fiscal policies, including abiding by its fiscal rule,” according to Fitch. “The new president also has pledged to enhance the business climate in Colombia.

“Growth prospects are consolidating towards Colombia’s medium-term growth potential of 3.5% after three years of underperformance (with average growth of 2.1% in 2016-2018). Higher exports, supportive consumption and higher investment are expected to underpin higher growth."

On the other hand, “infrastructure projects related to the 4G [fourth-generation highways] rollout have witnessed several bottlenecks that have slowed their progress, representing downside risks to the growth outlook,” Fitch added.

Meanwhile, a proposed tax reform in Congress “is key to achieving the [government revenue] target as well as meeting spending pressures such as from the immigration crisis stemming from Venezuela, although higher expected oil revenues from Ecopetrol dividends will help,” according to Fitch.

However, “if the tax reform does not pass or is heavily watered-down, [then] we think the government would revise the 2019 budget passed by the Congress in October 2018 with significant cuts in budgeted capital expenditure,” Fitch concluded.

DANE: 3Q 2018 Rebound

On a related front, Colombia’s national economic statistics agency -- Departamento Administrativo Nacional de Estadística (DANE) – on November 15 released its latest study on national economic indicators.

For the third quarter (3Q) of 2018, Colombia’s GDP (“PIB” in Spanish initials) grew at a 2.7% rate, up sharply from the 1.7% rate in 3Q 2017, DANE found.

Sectors showing relatively strong GDP growth (4.5%) in 3Q 2018 were public administration, defense, social security, voluntary pensions, health services and education, according to DANE.

Wholesale and retail commerce, vehicle repair, transport and warehousing, and hotel-and-restaurant services grew at a 2.6% rate, according to DANE. Industrial manufacturers meanwhile saw a 2.9% GDP growth in the latest quarter, the agency added.

In the mining sector, metals extraction grew by 14.3%, while oil-and-gas extraction rose 1.3%. However, carbon and lignite extraction declined by 4.1%, according to the agency.


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About Medellin Herald

Medellin Herald is a locally produced, English-language news and advisory service uniquely focused upon a more-mature audience of visitors, investors, conference and trade-show attendees, property buyers, expats, retirees, volunteers and nature lovers.

U.S. native Roberto Peckham, who founded Medellin Herald in 2015, has been residing in metro Medellin since 2005 and has traveled regularly and extensively throughout Colombia since 1981.

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