ECUADOR - Economy
General Manager, MarketWatch Ecuador
The founding partner of MarketWatch Ecuador and its General Manager, Gonzalo Rueda has more than 30 years of professional experience, of which 12 years were spent in the financial sector and 19 years were in consulting and market research. On the academic side, he is a graduate of the University of Miami, with a master’s degree from Thunderbird-The American Graduate School of International Management, having taken courses in negotiation at Harvard Faculty Staff, as well as business analytics at Wharton Executive Education.
MarketWatch is there to help investors throughout their establishment process in Ecuador, from providing a macro vision of the economy to recommending the appropriate corporate structure for them.
What is MarketWatch’s mission in the Ecuadorian market, and how does the company work to produce research on the country’s economy?
MarketWatch has been in the market for 17 years, focused on market research. MarketWatch handles hard data and secondary resources, which allows us to see the growth of Ecuador by city and economic sector. To see all the economic, financial, sales, and export indicators, MarketWatch carries out periodic updates. We also complement this with fieldwork, to determine consumer behavior, the brands they prefer, consumption habits, trends, and frequencies in all activities. We carry out field studies regarding commerce, food, housing, in the automotive sector—in short, in all sectors—to understand Ecuador’s economic development and from the point of view of the consumer.
How can MarketWatch support the investment decisions of foreign companies investing in Ecuador?
MarketWatch can help investors throughout the soft-landing process from a macro vision of the economy to generate approaches and meetings with the client’s sector of interest. The first step is the regulatory and legal part, so there we have alliances with lawyers with whom we work. These include the regulatory framework, the constitution of companies, the capital structure, and the holding structure of each particular client. If there is a company or group of companies interested in coming to Ecuador based on that structure or needs, we can recommend the appropriate corporate structure in Ecuador precisely to have tax optimization. That is the service we can provide to clients, together with market studies, feasibility analyses, and regulatory and legal assistance.
What significant changes have you seen in the Ecuadorian economy to adapt to the new reality in terms of recovery?
We have seen an important change in all e-commerce and digital transformation. In the study of e-commerce, from the analysis that we have carried out, e-commerce represents close to 3% of GDP. And within that, the categories that have had the biggest growth have been mainly in supermarkets, medicines, home delivery of meals, and retail. For the latter, there has been an important development in clothing, cosmetics, technology, whereby in some cases, retailers have noticed that their online sales are similar to sales of one of their brick-and-mortar stores. The technology sector also had a favorable performance.
What is your evaluation of the current economic situation in Ecuador?
The first attractive factor for investors is the currency. Ecuador uses the dollar, and it has been using this currency for more than 20 years now. That is a positive factor that naturally attracts investment. Furthermore, we have a mining sector with excellent growth and bullish expectations. There are also strategic sectors such as energy and hydrocarbons. In November 2021, a pipeline of USD30,000 million was generated. If it becomes a reality, it would be amazing. However, even if it was 60%, this would be incredible because the percentage of foreign investment in Ecuador over GDP is less than 1%. We are talking about almost USD1,000 million. If in the three years remaining of President Lasso’s government, an average of USD8,000 million a year is generated, it would be around 8% of GDP. This would be a significant figure, similar to what our neighbors receive. In FTAs, we are seeing great progress with Mexico, and once we sign with Mexico we will be in the Pacific Alliance. With this alliance, everything is facilitated for the US and for Asia. Ecuador signed an MoU with China, and the goal is to sign this treaty in 2022. It is also in talks with South Korea. The vision is “more Ecuador in the world and more of the world in Ecuador.” The goal of the government is to sign 12 treaties. With all these positive factors, the outlook for the country is attractive in terms of attracting investment and different companies. Furthermore, Ecuador’s monetary reserves already exceeds USD9,000 million, which is significant because we have not had such high reserves at any other time.
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