Colombian stocks declined Wednesday for a second straight day amid fears that a truckers strike could hamper the operations of two of the country’s largest oil firms.
The IGBC index, which encompasses the country’s blue-chip stocks, retreated 0.56% to close at 14,943.01 points. President Juan Manuel Santos said Wednesday that the government would not give in to the demands made by the country’s largest trucking association, which is preparing to strike over the elimination of a government-set minimum rate that truckers charge on their shipments.
The strike is set to start Wednesday at midnight and could seriously hobble the country’s coffee industry. There are also fears that it could hurt the operation of some oil firms, but CELFIN Capital, an investment firm, said in a research note that the impact would likely be negligible.
CELFIN said that strike appeared more like an “excuse to take profits,” explaining the declines in Pacific Rubiales Energy, the country’s largest independent oil operator, and Ecopetrol SA, the state-run oil firm.
Pacific Rubiales declined 0.78% to COP63,400 while Ecopetrol fell 0.25% to COP3,960.
The Colombian peso, meanwhile, weakened to COP1,858.00 to the dollar from 1,852.50 a day earlier. The yield on the benchmark 2020 peso-denominated bond known as TES, stood at 7.995% from 7.939% a day earlier.