The World Bank adjusts forecasts of Colombia’s GDP projection for 2020 to -7.5%; 4.9% in 2021

The World Bank updated its projections for the behavior of the Colombian economy and now expects GDP in 2020 to have fallen 7.5%, when the previous estimate was a decrease of 7.2%. For 2021, the economic growth projection increased from 4.5% to 4.9%. According to the National Administrative Department of Statistics (Dane), Colombia's GDP fell 9% in the third quarter of 2020, causing the country's economic activity to reflect a decline of 8.1% between January and September, compared with the same period of 2019.

Colombia closes 2020 with inflation of 1.61%, the lowest in its statistical records

Colombia accumulated an inflation of 1.61% in 2020, the lowest in its history since the country keeps statistical records and lower than the annual goal of 3% established by the Central Bank, due to the fall in domestic consumption due to the pandemic of the coronavirus, the Government reported Tuesday. The rise in prices was below that registered in 2019, of 3.80%. The Central Bank established an inflation target of between 2 and 4% for 2021.

Colombia reviewing plans to divest its 51% stake in ISA

Colombia’s government is reviewing plans to sell a stake in Interconexion Electrica SA. Grupo Energia Bogota, Ecopetrol SA and Empresas Publicas de Medellin are among the companies considering a bid for the stake in the transmission company. The government owns a majority 51.4% stake in ISA, which at current market prices could fetch $4.2 billion. President Ivan Duque’s administration has identified divestments as a potential source of income to narrow the fiscal deficit to 7.6% of gross domestic product this year and try to stave off the risk of affecting its credit rating. The deficit widened to an estimated 8.9% in 2020 after the government was forced to boost spending to cope with the pandemic. ISA, which operates energy transmission lines and highways in Latin America, has a market value of $8.1 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Colombia’s Argos to pay US$20mn to settle US anti-trust probe

Colombian business group Argos said that its ready-mix concrete subsidiary Argos USA agreed to pay US$20mn in relation to an investigation over an alleged price fixing cartel involving former employees in the state of Georgia. According to the US Department of Justice, aside from the penalty, Argos USA “admitted to participating in the charged conspiracy, and agreed to cooperate fully with the Antitrust Division’s ongoing criminal investigation and prosecution of others involved in this conspiracy”.