Colombia swapped US$1.8 billion
(4.3 trillion pesos) in local TES bonds, part of the
government’s effort to improve its debt profile by extending
maturities, the Finance Ministry said on Wednesday.
More debt is expected to be included in the second round of
the swap, to be announced later on Wednesday.
Maturities will be extended as far as 2024 in the
operations, the ministry said in a statement.
Over the last year Colombia has swapped $4.3 billion in
debt as the government tries to shore up its finances and
protect the economy from the world slowdown.
President Alvaro Uribe said on Wednesday that Colombia’s
economy grew as much as 3.2 percent last year and that the
outlook for 2009 is being complicated by the global crisis.
The central bank says the Andean country’s growth could
slow to between 1 and 2 percent this year as the world
financial crisis clamps down on foreign investment and prices
for commodities produced in the country drop.
The government is more optimistic, forecasting 2009 growth
at around 3 percent. Colombia’s gross domestic product figures
for 2008 are scheduled to be released at the end of March.