Colombia’s foreign debt, measured in relation to economic output, climbed in February compared with the same month a year earlier fueled by a surge in foreign debt taken on by the private sector.
Colombia’s total foreign debt, which includes the government and private sector, stood at 20.1% of gross domestic product in February, higher than the 18.5% figure registered a year earlier. The total foreign debt stands at $67.3 billion, nearly unchanged from January this year.
The higher outstanding debt from a year earlier is the result of the private sector taking on more foreign loans, data from the central bank shows. Foreign debt owed by the private sector stands at $27.6 billion in February, from $16.8 billion a year earlier. The government’s debt in February stood at $39.7 billion while a year earlier it was $36.5 billion.
Demand for Colombian bonds has increased in recent months as the country was awarded investment-grade status for its bonds by Standard and Poor’s, with other rating agencies expected to follow suit this year. The move opened the door for the institutional investors that have restrictions on investing in anything but investment-grade instruments to buy Colombian debt.