Royal Caribbean Returns to Cartagena
The U.S.-based company, Royal Caribbean Cruises, will return to Colombian ports after a more than a four-year absence. Richard Fain, President of Royal Caribbean, said during a announcement with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe that he anticipated 75,000 passengers would visit Colombia’s shores within the next year. Royal Caribbean sails to the Bahamas, Panama, Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay, Chile and Venezuela, among other countries.
Colombian Exports Expand
Colombia’s exports increased February, compared to the same month last year, according to Colombia’s National Statistics Department (DANE).
Retail Sales Increase
Colombian retail sales, excluding fuel sales, rose in February compared to the same month a year ago. A report by the National Statistics Department (DANE) highlighted the sales of furniture, cars, and home appliances as key to this growth. The positive measures of Colombia’s retail industry have led both local and foreign supermarket chains to increase their investment in the country.
Unemployment Continues to Decline
About 1 millon jobs were generated during the last 12 months. The national unemployment rate declined by 2 points to 11.3%.
Colombia Ranked 2nd Most Competitive Country in Latin America
Colombia is ranked the 2nd most competitive country in Latin America, and 40th overall, in the global ranking of the World Competitiveness Scoreboard. Colombia rose seven places from its position. Chile maintained its top competitiveness ranking in the region. Other ranked Latin American economies included Brazil (52), Mexico (53), Argentina (55) and Venezuela (60). The annual World Competitiveness Yearbook, published by Swiss-based IMD, is the world’s most renowned and comprehensive annual report on the competitiveness of nations, ranking and analyzing how a nation’s political and business environment creates and sustains the competitiveness of enterprises.
GDP Growth Anticipated in Q1;
Inflation Remains Low
Colombia’s Gross Domestic Product is expected to gain in the first quarter of the year, compared with the same quarter last year, according to Santiago Montenegro, director of the Government’s National Planning Department.
Seven New Oil Contracts Signed
Colombia’s National Hydrocarbon Agency (ANH) signed seven new oil exploration and production contracts this month. This brings the total number of exploration contracts signed this year to date to fourteen. Companies that recently gained exploration rights include Australia’s BHP Billiton (BHP), London-based Taghmen Energy (LAG.LN), Canadian-based Apex Energy, U.S.-based Hupecol, and Colombia’s Occidental Andina.
Phillip Morris Seeks 100%
Ownership of Coltabaco
Phillip Morris International’s Dutch unit, GWP CV, offered to the buy the remaining of the shares it does not own of Colombia’s largest tobacco firm, Compania de Tobaco SA. Coltabaco was estimated to hold 48% of the Colombian market last year and is the fourth-largest tobacco company in Latin America. Here you will find the Colombia trade report by months,