Colombia’s foreign debt reached US$47 billion in May, the country’s Central Bank announced.
This represents 22.4 per cent of the gross domestic product.
In May 2008 Colombia’s foreign debt stood at US$45.7 billion, 18.8 per cent of the GDP.
Of Colombia’s total foreign debt, US$15.9 billion is owed by the private sector and US$31.1 billion is owed by the government.
Contrary to the government’s increased dependence on foreign funds, the private sector has decreased its foreign debt: The debt at the beginning of 2009 was US$16.7 billion and by May had been reduced to US$15.9 billion. According to the Central Bank, private debt accounts for 7.6 per cent of Colombia’s GDP.
Colombia’s long-term debt amounts to US$43 billion, of
which US$15.8 billion is held in foreign bonds or Yankees; US$1.4 billion is in commercial loans; US$22.7 billion is in loans
and US$3 billion is invested in other financial instruments. Meanwhile, the government’s short-term balance is
Economic newspaper La Republica reports that the government had warned of increased public debt to cover additional expenses generated by offsetting the impact of the global economic crisis.
Colombia’s economy could stagnate this year, hit by lower exports and falling domestic demand, stemming from the slowdown of its major trading partners. This has prompted President Uribe’s government to devise a strategy for increased public spending.