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Country Forecast Colombia March 2018 Updater

Country Forecast Colombia March 2018 Updater

  • March 2018
  • ID: 5355270
  • Format: PDF
  • By The Economist Intelligence Unit

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  • The president, Juan Manuel Santos of the centre-right Partido Social de Unidad Nacional, and his successor, who will take office in August 2018, will focus on advancing implementation of a peace agreement with the former leftist FARC rebels. Suspended talks with a smaller group, the Ejército de Liberación Nacional, are likely to only resume once the next government takes power. With oil prices still relatively low, fiscal constraints will complicate efforts to boost growth, finance peace-related reforms and improve public services.
  • Tension related to the peace accord will persist, but The Economist Intelligence Unit expects implementation of the deal to continue. This will bolster long-term economic, institutional and social development, but violence and crime will remain significant problems. The peace process may slow if a right-leaning candidate wins the presidential election in May 2018, reflecting less enthusiasm on the right for some of the agreement's provisions. We expect the election to go to a second round, pitting a leftist against a right-wing rival.
  • We expect the non-financial public sector (NFPS) deficit, estimated at 2.2% of GDP in 2017, to narrow gradually to 1.4% of GDP in 2022, reflecting improving oil prices and stronger economic growth. We expect the public debt burden to rise slightly through 2019, before easing later in the forecast period. We expect larger fiscal and oil revenues put the public finances on a sounder footing.
  • GDP will grow by 2.5% in 2018, reflecting fading fiscal constraints and improvement in consumer confidence. It will firm up thereafter as government consumption and investment, as well as private consumption, pick up, aided by lower inflation and interest rates. At an average of 3.3% per year in 2019-22, growth will be lower than in the boom years of the commodities supercycle.
  • The current-account deficit will narrow to 2.9% of GDP in 2022. It will be covered by capital inflows, but the external sector will remain vulnerable to shifts in commodities prices and investor sentiment towards emerging markets.
  • Trade agreements with the US, the EU and some Asian countries, and progress in regional integration, will support trade flows and attract foreign investment. This, along with dividends from the peace accords and a large, increasingly middle-class population, will sustain reasonable GDP growth in the long term.
  • Market opportunities will broadly expand during the forecast period, underpinned by a sizeable and growing population, rising per-head incomes, increased consumer access to credit, improvements in the business climate and infrastructure, and trade integration (regionally and globally).






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