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Fitch: Investors carefully await outcome of Colombia's presidential elections


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Fitch: Investors carefully await outcome of Colombia's presidential elections

This month's upcoming election for Colombia's new president has captured the attention of investors due to policies that could affect taxes, trade, growth and other critical issues for the business environment, Fitch Ratings said in a May 15 report.

"Colombia has a number of challenges that the next president must address, including low economic growth, higher debt, and the implementation of the peace agreement," Natalia O'Byrne, senior director at the rating agency said.

"Corporates could benefit from the intention of all candidates to reduce business tax to increase competitiveness and attract investment, while their differing views regarding potential state intervention spanning land rights, lending and energy, among others, would affect sectors to varying degrees," O'Byrne added.

However, Fitch said due to the strength of Colombia's economic and fiscal institutions, big changes are unlikely regarding nation's economic structure, whoever wins the election.

"The next president must address several high-priority issues, notably dealing with the peace process signed with the FARC. In addition to tax reform, pension reform will also be a priority," the rating agency said.

Primaries on March 11, which were held together with parliamentary elections, put conservative Iván Duque and leftist Gustavo Petro as heads of respective biggest coalitions for the presidency and polls have shown them as clear front-runners for the elections May 27.

Most polls have shown Duque on top of Petro, both in the first-round and a June 17 second-round vote that is scheduled if neither candidate gets more than 50 percent of the first vote.