Colombian news summary.

| 9/30/2010 6:00:00 PM

Colombian news summary

Today on news: Former President Uribe will run on regional elections and Colombia will not have investment grade in less than a one year according to a Colombian broker dealer.

Unemployment rate down in August

Colombia’s government statistics office reported on Tuesday a slight decrease in the unemployment rate. In august it reached 11.2%, down 0.5 pct points from August 2009. Although it’s good news, the country still has the second largest unemployment rate in the Americas.

Nevertheless, the outlook calls for further improvement. Since 2008, the number of people employed as a proportion of the economically active population has been growing. It went from 51.5%, on August 2008, to 53.3% in the same month 2009, to 55.5% last August.

Rust could attack 67% of coffee planted area

Government and the Federation of Coffee Growers announced a credit facility on special terms for coffee growers who want to change their varieties vulnerable to rust disease (roya), to the more resistant Castillo variety.

The increased rainfall in a traditionally dry time of year and the fact that 67% of the planted coffee area in the country is planted with susceptible varieties such as Maragogipe, Typical, and Bourbon, have favored the fast increase of this disease in the country. Some estimates place the infected area at 30% of total.

Ecuador faces critic situation in public order

Police and military forces clashed on the streets of Quito. The former protest the passing of a law that reduced their wages. President Rafael Correa, said this is an attempt to destabilize democracy.

In response to the situation, the Organization of American States convened in a special meeting of its Permanent Council on Thursday, to act in favor of Correa’s democratically elected government. Colombia and Perú have already closed their borders to all commercial movements, as a way to endorse Ecuador’s president.

September 29,2010

Former President Uribe will run on regional elections

A strong participation of his party (Partido de la U) on the race for majors and governors announced former Colombian president Álvaro Uribe in Bogotá on Tuesday. It was his first political appearance since he left office last August. This is an important lead to follow since Uribe has a very important regional electoral backing, even after having lost some of his popularity in the final days of his mandate.

Uribe also announced that he will promote the writing of a book on the achievements of the Colombian armed forces in their fight against guerrillas. "I intend to invite a group of Colombians to write and publish a book about all deeds of our armed forces in recent years," Uribe said.

Colombia will not have investment grade in less than one year: Interbolsa

An analysis by the research department of Colombian broker dealer Interbolsa, shows that the country is still below the mark on some indicators needed to raise his credit-risk rating to investment grade. They feel that the upgrade will only come by towards the end of 2011.

The think that Colombia still needs to pass a Fiscal Rule through Congress, increase GDP growth and diversify its export base away from oil, before it gets its investment grade. "Taking a fiscal rule to Congress, the country improved its credit rating outlook. Now we need its approval and a show of effective action in the path of fiscal stability. That may take more than a year, " Interbolsa stated.

September 28, 2010

Ecopetrol’s new finding in Brasil

Colombian oil company Ecopetrol and its US-based partner Andarko reported the presence of hydrocarbons in their exploratory well Itaúna in Brazil. In their report to the Brazilian National Petroleum Agency (ANP) the companies stated that the finding was located in shallow waters of the BM-C-29 block.

Ecopetrol, through its Brazilian subsidiary, is a partner with a 50% share in this venture, operated by Andarko. Ecopetrol signed an agreement with the US company in April for oil exploration in Brazil as part of the internationalization of their activities.

The oil company did not report further information on their finding. Their production estimates will be subject to additional data obtained during exploration work to be developed in the coming months.

President Santos will meet Chávez in Venezuela

Colombia president Juan Manuel Santos, announced his intention to travel to Venezuela in October, accepting an invitation from this country’s strong man Hugo Chávez.

The two leaders met on August 10th in Santa Marta city and agreed to restore diplomatic relations and evolve toward a trade normalization between the two countries. "I want to announce, that to go further (in the relations improvement), in October , I will gladly accept the invitation to meet with president Chavez in Venezuelan territory," Santos said in a government act.

September 27, 2010

Proven ties between Senator Piedad Córdoba and Farc

Inspector General (Procurador General de la Nación), Alejandro Ordóñez, ousted from office outspoken and controversial senator Piedad Córdoba, and banned her from holding public posts for 18 years.

Ordóñez based his ruling on the fact that she actively advised the guerrilla group Farc, on issues that favored their strategic interests. She also was found to publicly make declarations that helped the goals of this 50-year-old subversive group.

The investigation that led to her dismissal was originated in the findings of digital information seized in “Operación Fénix”, where Farc’s commander Raul Reyes was killed.

Labor unions will ask for an increase of 5 percentage points over inflation on the minimum wage

In their first show of cards, General Secretary of labor union CGT, Julio Roberto Gómez, told that they will take this proposal to the November meetings of Comité de Concertación. This Comité brings to a negotiation table representatives from unions, business and government, with the aim of reaching an agreement on minimum wages before the end of the year. If they do not compromise on a figure, government has the power to set it by a presidential decree.


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