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Economía y Finanzas  
 
03/03/2013 | Colombia’s economy - The black stuff

The Economist Staff

OIL may now be Colombia’s biggest export, but coal comes second and coffee, no longer paramount as it long was, is still the fifth-biggest foreign-exchange earner. In February both the coal and the coffee industry were crippled by protests and strikes, threatening to put a temporary dent in the economy’s otherwise reasonably healthy growth. They are doing nothing to buoy President Juan Manuel Santos’s dipping popularity.

 

Around 70% of the coal industry has been halted since early February, for two separate reasons. More than 5,000 workers at Cerrejón, the biggest mine, went on strike for higher wages on February 7th, the first such stoppage in nearly 20 years. The strike is costing the company, a joint venture of three multinational giants (Xstrata, Anglo-American and BHP Billiton), an estimated $3m a day. After blasts set by unidentified attackers damaged four trucks at the mine, negotiations began on February 26th, though an agreement does not appear close.

The strike coincided with troubles at Drummond, an American company that is Colombia’s second-largest coal producer. The authorities suspended its port licence after an incident in January in which the company dumped hundreds of tonnes of coal into the Caribbean from a sinking barge. It officially reported the incident only after photos appeared on television.

Coffee’s woes have a bigger political impact: more than 500,000 families grow the beans. On February 25th thousands of them began blocking roads in ten provinces. Their incomes have dropped sharply, as leaf rust (a plant disease) has cut output, and the strong peso has exacerbated a fall in the world coffee price. They want more government subsidies and changes in how the National Federation of Coffee-growers, which buys the bulk of the crop, is managed. “Today, to produce one arroba (a 25lb or 11.3kg bag) costs the coffee grower 70,000 pesos ($38.6) and he gets paid 49,000 pesos for it. Need a calculator?”, read a banner suspended by the protesters.

Mr Santos called the marches “inconvenient and unnecessary” as well as “unjust”. The government has granted producers subsidies of $33 for every 125kg of coffee, paying out aid totalling $1.6 billion. The coffee growers and the government have agreed to talks to resolve the dispute.

The mood in Colombia seems to be darkening. In a Gallup poll in February, twice as many respondents said things were getting worse as thought they were improving. It doesn’t help that the FARC guerrillas have stepped up attacks, while peace talks in Havana appear to be moving slowly. Facing an election next year if he wants a second term, Mr Santos has seen his approval rating fall to 50%, down from 56% in December, according to Gallup. Although that is far from disastrous, Mr Santos will be watching carefully.

The Economist (Reino Unido)

 


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17/01/2009|
17/01/2009|
17/01/2009|
17/01/2009|
17/01/2009|
17/01/2009|
11/01/2009|
06/12/2008|
06/12/2008|
06/12/2008|
06/12/2008|
23/11/2008|
23/11/2008|
16/11/2008|
16/11/2008|
04/11/2008|
04/11/2008|
03/11/2008|
03/11/2008|
24/10/2008|
24/10/2008|
24/10/2008|
24/10/2008|
15/09/2008|
15/09/2008|
15/09/2008|
15/09/2008|
15/09/2008|
15/09/2008|
06/09/2008|
06/09/2008|
05/09/2008|
05/09/2008|
05/09/2008|
05/09/2008|
01/09/2008|
01/09/2008|
01/09/2008|
01/09/2008|
22/08/2008|
22/08/2008|
17/08/2008|
17/08/2008|
16/08/2008|
16/08/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
19/07/2008|
19/07/2008|
24/05/2008|
24/05/2008|
03/05/2008|
03/05/2008|
29/04/2008|
11/02/2008|
05/01/2008|
09/12/2007|
18/11/2007|
10/11/2007|
10/11/2007|
06/11/2007|
06/11/2007|
06/09/2007|
26/08/2007|
25/08/2007|
11/07/2007|
16/06/2007|
16/06/2007|
10/06/2007|
10/06/2007|
19/05/2007|
19/05/2007|
19/05/2007|
19/05/2007|
24/04/2007|
24/04/2007|
14/04/2007|
14/04/2007|
05/04/2007|
05/04/2007|
05/04/2007|
28/02/2007|
28/02/2007|
05/02/2007|
05/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
29/01/2007|
29/01/2007|
29/01/2007|
29/01/2007|
11/01/2007|
11/01/2007|
11/01/2007|
11/01/2007|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
20/12/2006|
20/12/2006|
17/11/2006|
30/09/2006|
28/07/2006|
12/04/2006|
12/04/2006|
12/04/2006|
06/03/2006|
21/02/2006|
17/02/2006|
31/01/2006|
10/01/2006|
28/12/2005|
31/10/2005|
26/09/2005|
29/08/2005|
11/08/2005|
08/08/2005|
24/06/2005|
24/06/2005|
24/06/2005|
03/04/2005|
03/04/2005|
03/04/2005|
03/04/2005|

ver + notas
 
Center for the Study of the Presidency
Freedom House