65% of retailers report decrease in sales in August, despite economic recovery efforts

The most recent economic log of the National Trade Federation (Fenalco) revealed that retail sales continued in a negative trend. Only 14% of the businesses in the sector reported an increase in the volume of their sales, whilst 65% reported a decrease. The drop in sales is due to the reduction in household income, the lack of the traditional mid-year school season and the higher cost of consumer credit.

Ecopetrol announces $430 MM in advance payment of local and international short-term credits

Ecopetrol reported that it will prepay the short-term obligations with local and international banks signed in March and April 2020, in the form of trade finance instruments and short-term bank loans. The total principal repayment to be prepaid amounts to $ 208 MM (local debt) and $ 221.5 MM (international debt), plus accrued interest.

75% probability of ‘La Niña’ Phenomenon to hit Colombia by the end of 2020

The Institute of Hydrology and Environmental Studies (Ideam) warns of a 75% probability of a 'La Niña' phenomenon in the last months of 2020, with an estimated 40 to 60% increase in rainfall in the northern and central regions of the country. La Niña could produce torrential rains and flooding, landslides, gales, and hailstorms, affecting the agricultural sector, road infrastructure, housing, water and sanitation, among other sectors. Heavy rains in 2010 and 2011 resulted in floods that cost and estimated $6 billion in damages to infrastructure, agriculture and housing and social services.

Over $800 MM paid in financial support for Colombian businesses, with plans to extend payroll subsidies until Q1 2021

The Colombian government announced that the Formal Employment Support Programme initially extended until December 2020, is expected to continue towards the first quarter of 2021. The programme subsidizes 40% of the minimum wage in those companies that have seen their cash flow affected by more than 20%. The cost of the first stage has exceeded $800 MM, benefitting more than three million jobs.

75% growth in fintech startups drives new regulatory sandbox in Colombia

Under the new regulatory sandbox rules, fintech ventures can formally test their technological developments in real market conditions, although with limitations in terms of audience and time. In the last five years, fintech companies have grown 75% annually in Colombia, placing third in the region after Mexico and Brazil. According to Érick Rincón, president of Colombia Fintech, “in the coming years we expect new technologies such as blockchain and big data to take hold in the Colombian fintech market, which requires differential regulation.