The Colombian peso ended 2.2% weaker against the dollar, while yields
on local treasury bonds climbed as the rising toll from the Mexican
swine flu outbreak sparked concern around the world.
The Colombian peso weakened to 2,340.05 to the dollar from COP2,290
on Friday, while the yield on the benchmark domestic paper maturing in
2020 ended at 9.142%, up from 8.988% on Friday.
The Colombian peso as well as many currencies in the region
depreciated on fears swine flu could weaken global trade and restrict
the flow of goods and travelers among countries, said Diego Camacho,
head of research at local brokerage Acciones de Colombia.
“If the swine flue worsens, the world economy will decelerate even more,” said Camacho.
Colombian health authorities identified 12 people with flu-like
symptoms who were recently in Mexico, and it took samples from them to
send to the U.S. for tests, according to Colombia’s labor minister,
Gilberto Alvarez, the director of public health at Colombia’s
Health Ministry, Sunday said it was unclear whether the 12 being tested
were infected with swine flu, which has killed nearly 150 people in
Nearly 1,995 people in Mexico were admitted to hospitals with
indications that they could be infected with the new virus. Of those,
1,070 have been released from hospital, and 776 remain hospitalized,
according to Mexican Health Minister Jose Angel Cordova.
The rising death toll from the Mexican swine flu outbreak prompted
the U.S. to declare a public health emergency and other nations to
order border clamp-downs. On Monday, the U.S. government also warned
travelers against making “nonessential” trips to Mexico.
Meanwhile, the Colombian IGBC stock index fell 0.7% to 8,233.23,
dragged down by state-controlled oil company Ecopetrol (ECOPETROL.BO)
and the country’s largest bank Bancolombia (CIB).
Ecopetrol shed 0.2% to COP2,125 as oil futures prices fell on fears that the flu will crimp travel demand.
The preferred shares of Bancolombia fell 0.2% to COP21,780, tracking its ADR which was down 2.6% at $21.55 as of 2:55 p.m. (Dow Jones)