One of the services that we offer at Econometría Consultants is projections on principle macroeconomic variables and an analysis of the economic situation in Colombia. This service is offered in conjunction with organizations in twelve Latin American countries which form part of the Latin American Alliance of Economic Consultancies – LAECO.
LAECO presents a monthly summary of the economic and political situation in each country, as well as providing a service of sectoral studies on a local and regional level. The following are a selection of economic analyses carried out by the organization.
Colombia is facing a complex stagflation scenario. Inflation rose to 13.3% in March (y-o-y) and shows signs of remaining above double digits at least until the end of the year. Looking at the disaggregated data, we see a slowdown in food inflation. However, the other components continue to rise, which makes it very difficult for Banco de la República to contemplate a decrease in the interest rate.
The Colombian economy recovered in the first quarter of the year, contradicting forecasts from different economic analysts. Considering this positive trend, Econometría Consultores has adjusted its economic growth projection to levels over 6% by the end of this year.
The LAECO Alliance countries project, on average, a 9.6% production contraction for 2020. The biggest drop is expected in Venezuela, Argentina and Peru, while the most optimistic forecasts are in Paraguay and Uruguay.
The countries of the LAECO Alliance project an economic growth recovery of the region in a V-shape, since the -9.31% expected in 2020, it expected to be replaced by a positive 3.8% in 2021. If these projections are met, all Latin American countries would present growth of more than 2.5% next year, with the exception of Venezuela where, although growth is expected to be negative, an economic recovery is foreseen.
The LAECO Alliance countries estimate a devaluation of their currencies with respect to the US dollar of 6.83% on average during 2021. However, estimates vary. While in countries such as Argentina devaluations close to 50% are expected, in Colombia a revaluation of 12% of the Colombian peso is estimated compared to the exchange rate values presented in 2020.
Ecoanalítica, a member of the LAECO Alliance, estimates a decrease of -1,9% of the Venezuelan economy for 2021 and an increase of 5.8% for 2022. These are positive expectations, considering the GDP contraction of 39.8 % and 34.5% presented in 2019 and 2020 respectively.
Most of the countries of the LAECO Alliance estimate similar levels of GDP growth and inflation in 2021. In countries such as Uruguay, inflation is estimated to be much higher than economic growth, while in Peru the relationship is inverse.
The exchange rate projections for 2021 of the LAECO Alliance countries are diverse, varying in estimates of revaluation of the Chilean peso, the Colombian peso and the Peruvian sol, to estimates of devaluation in other currencies such as the Brazilian real, the Mexican peso and the Costa Rican colon.
Despite the economic and political shocks presented in the first quarter of the year, an improvement in the economic growth of the Colombian economy is expected for 2021 and a lower devaluation of the peso compared to 2020. However, this behavior will be accompanied by an increase in inflation.
In most Latin American countries, a reduction in the value of the local currency is expected by 2022, except for Colombia and Chile, where a lower devaluation is projected next year.
The countries of the LAECO Alliance project an average inflation of 1.40% for 2020, a figure lower than the 2.58% presented in 2019. The COVID-19 crisis will also be reflected in prices, although the figures are expected to increase again from 2021.
In most Latin American countries, 2021 inflation forecasts have been updated upwards due to exchange rate pressures and a rise on food inflation.
Our current forecasts in LAECO for GDP growth in the main economies of the region in 2021 (in parentheses the forecast in September):
AR 7.5 (7.2)
BR 5.0 (5.0)
CL 11.2 (9.9)
CO 9.9 (8.2)
MX 5.6 (5.6)
EP 11 (11)
Just as in past months, growth forecasts for 2021 were increased for most countries in the region. Inflation forecasts have also increased for both 2021 and 2022. This is due to supply chain bottlenecks, a steeper devaluation and a pick-up in economic growth.
The Colombian economy will end 2021 with a good performance and 2022 will be a good year, although there are relevant risks. Inflation continues to rise and will generate further interest rate increases. The unemployment rate remains above the pre-pandemic level. Despite this, the economy is expected to grow by about 5% in 2022.
2021 inflation reached 5.6%, well above the inflation target, which will force Banco de la República to raise the monetary policy interest rate.The political context is uncertain and Colombia faces risks of extremes like in Chile and Perú that could harm the future of the economy.
DANE revealed that 2021 GDP growth was 10.6%. If the economy stagnates at 2021Q4 GDP levels for all 2022, 2022 GDP growth would be around 5.3%. Thus, we updated our GDP growth forecast to 6.3%, which is similar to a 3% GDP in normal times. This growth rate might be insufficient for job creation.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will put further pressure on food and energy prices, as both countries are major exporters of corn, wheat and fertilisers such as urea, and in the case of Russia, blockades on its oil exports increase oil prices.
In Colombia, electoral uncertainty is increasingly relevant as left-wing options seem to be gaining strength. For the moment, congressional and senate elections suggest that no party will have majorities without alliances. However, the results of the new count are awaited.
The LAECO Alliance countries project a lower devaluation of their currencies for 2021, compared to the one presented in 2020. This trend is expected to continue in 2022 in most countries, except for Argentina where an increase in devaluation is forecast for the Argentinean Peso in that year.
The economic growth forecasts of the LAECO Alliance countries project an expected growth of -9.14% for the countries of the region in 2020. Colombia is slightly above this average, with a forecast of -7%.
The first warning sign was the failure of Silicon Valley Bank. Although this bank is not systemic, it is of great importance for the technology and startup sector and can generate contagion effects. Such contagion effects have been seen at Credit Suisse Bank, which is systemic. Thus, the potential failure of Credit Suisse could be the beginning of a new Lehman Brothers, which was the catalyst for the 2008 crisis.
The last few weeks have been characterized by high uncertainty. On the one hand, countries such as the United States and Japan show signs of recession. The greater global risk generates a greater flow of capital towards safer assets than the Colombian currency, such as the dollar and gold, devaluing our currency. Additionally, the election of President Gustavo Petro (leftist candidate) has had an impact on a greater perception of country risk, fueling the devaluation and increases in TES yields and falls in Ecopetrol shares.
In 2022, the Colombian economy grew by 7.5%. Although the number is high compared to the region, it compares negatively to the market’s expectation (8%), which is similar to Econometría’s expectation. Thus, this suggests the beginning of the economic slowdown. Therefore, the 2023 growth forecast is updated to 0.5% with a downward bias. Regarding inflation, the year-end inflation forecast is increased to 9%.
2023 starts with downward updates on several indicators. Monetary policy is already significantly affecting household consumption. As far as inflation is concerned, we have no major change in our expectation. We continue to see inflation closing 2023 at 7 to 8%. However, there are some upside risks from the exchange rate.
While 2022 will close with 12.7% inflation and possibly grow between 8 and 8.5%, 2023 will be a complex year. On the one hand, the effects of the Banco de la Republica’s monetary policy are already cooling household consumption, which dropped 2.2% in the third quarter of 2022, which is similar to the drop seen in the last quarter of 1998 (2.4%), marking the beginning of the crisis at the end of the century. The growth forecast for 2023 is 2% with downward risks.
Fundamental variables such as Colombia’s current account deficit and fiscal deficit are at unsustainable levels, making Colombia more vulnerable to the actions of the Federal Reserve. As a result, Colombia is one of the countries with the highest devaluation associated with interest rate increases in the United States. To this cocktail is added the timidity of the Central Bank in raising interest rates. The political situation in Colombia generates even more uncertainty.
Although 2022 seems to be a good year in terms of growth, with the latest available information it is credible that Colombia will have a growth between 8-8.5% in 2022, this indicator has as a counterpart an inflation between 12-13%. The monetary tightening that the different central banks are doing will surely make financial conditions tighter and generate a complex 2023.
Even though Banco de la República has raised the monetary policy rate to 9%, it does not appear that the real economy is slowing down. On the contrary, the economy continues to outperform market growth expectations. The dollar has continued its devaluation and is hovering around 4400 COP/USD.
On the political front, Gustavo Petro’s government faced its first march. It was an event without disturbances and not very cohesive, but larger than expected.
In Colombia, the first presidential term of the left has just begun. This has generated expectations among investors and uncertainty about what will happen in the next 4 years. The government has also shown economic orthodoxy by presenting a tax reform in order to increase revenue. While this tax reform has a high component on personal income and the elimination of exemptions for certain business sectors that is unattractive to investors, such an effort suggests the priority of closing the fiscal deficit generated by the COVID-19 crisis and the search for responsible financing of public spending in the following years.
On June 19, Colombians elected Gustavo Petro as their president for 2022-2026. This is a relevant change for the country. First, he is the first leftist president who generates uncertainty. However, moderation of his policies is expected since he does not have majorities in Congress, and he made many alliances with the political center during his campaign.
On the other hand, the economy has shown important signs of recovery, which is why the growth forecast is updated to 8.5% for 2022.
According to the LAECO Alliance countries, the average of the growth forecasts in Latin America in 2020 is -9.6%, and -7.4% excluding Venezuela. The economies are expected to recover in 2021, forecasting an average growth for that year of 3.5% and 4.1% excluding Venezuela.
Although the Colombian economy continues to show high growth compared to other economies in the region, it has imbalances in the fiscal and current account deficits that make it unlikely that it will increase public spending. On the other hand, in monetary policy there is also no room to apply expansionary policies, since inflation would close the year close to the target range (3.9%). Econometrics Consultants reduces the forecast for economic growth from 3.2% to 3.1% in 2019 and increases the forecast for the unemployment rate from 10.6% to 10.8%.
The Colombian economy will end 2019 with economic growth close to 3.1%. Inflation closed at 3.8% and it is estimated that the unemployment rate was above 10%. In this context, the projections of Econometrics Consultants for 2020 are similar. In particular, global demand will have a slight boost in 2020, but factors such as Brexit, the conflict between the United States and Iran, the impeachment of Donald Trump, among others, could slow down the growth of the world economy.
Although the uncertainty generated by Brexit and the impeachment of Donald Trump has ceased, the volatility of the markets continues thanks to the coronavirus, devaluing the Colombian currency. In this way, if this trend continues, our central scenario of an average exchange rate around 3,300 COP/USD during 2020 could be modified. On the other hand, there are reasons for relief in the Colombian economy as inflation slowed to 3.6% (year-on-year) and growth in 2019 was 3.3%.
Colombia has been affected by the drop in oil prices and the global effects of the Coronavirus on demand, which has affected the trade balance, the fiscal balance, the exchange rate and inflation. At the moment, the forecasts of the previous month are maintained because there have not yet been any signs that suggest that the epidemiological situation in Colombia is difficult to manage and quarantines are required.
The Latin American Alliance of Economic Consultants – LAECO, presents a special report on the situation of COVID-19 in Latin America and the responses that governments have given to face the crisis.
The LAECO Alliance publishes its forecasts for growth, inflation, unemployment and other macroeconomic variables of the Latin American economies for the month of May 2020. A significant contraction is forecast in all countries due to the crisis generated by COVID- 19, which in some economies is accentuated by the decrease in oil prices and other commodities. For the Colombian case, Econometrics Consultants forecasts a GDP variation of -3.0% for this year. To obtain more information about this analysis, request your subscription to the LAECO Monthly Bulletin.
The LAECO Alliance adjusts its forecasts for growth, inflation, unemployment and other macroeconomic variables of the Latin American economies for 2020. A sharp drop in the economic growth of the countries is expected, which varies between -0, 6% forecast for Paraguay, and -27.5% forecast for Venezuela.
As predicted in previous months, inflation has continued to rise. As of March, monthly inflation was 1%, and annual inflation reached 8.5%. In response, Banco de la República raised its benchmark interest rate by 100 basis points at its March meeting. On the positive side, the labor market is recovering.