The first round of Colombia’s presidential election has set up a close race between left-wing Gustavo Petro and populist Rodolfo Hernández in the second round vote on 19th June. The vote was a major repudiation of the pro-business governments that have governed Colombia for the past two decades. Investors seem to have welcomed the result. Hernández is seen as having the best chance of defeating Petro and avoiding a shift to the left. But we think that any optimism is likely to be short lived. Neither Hernández nor Petro are likely to tighten fiscal policy to reduce public debt risks, while both advocate higher trade barriers which bodes poorly for Colombia’s growth prospects. If anything, we suspect that Hernández presents a greater risk on these fronts than Petro.
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