According to statistics from the Banco de la República, the country's public and private debt reached US$171,954 million at the end of January. This meant an increase of 10.69% compared to the same month in 2021, when the figure reached US $155,345 million. The figures of Colombia's external obligations, between the first month of 2021 compared to that of 2022, showed an increase of 49.6% to 50.2% as a share of gross domestic product, GDP. Likewise, there was a decrease compared to the end of 2021 when, in December, the figure represented 54.7% of GDP with an amount of US $171,339 million.
In addition to these indicators, public external debt closed at US $101,484 million in January, that is, it increased by 11.28% compared to the same month last year when it was US$91.19 billion. In January 2021, public sector loans accounted for 29.6% of GDP, compared to 29.1% the previous year.
In December 2021, public debt accounted for 32.7% of GDP, and private sector external debt totaled US$70,470 million, which was 9.84% more than in January 2021 when it was US$64,155 million. As of January of this year, private external debt stood at 20.6 per cent of GDP.
“It is urgent that we understand the challenge that is coming for developing countries in the coming years, today the average global GDP debt exceeds 98% and that at a time when interest rates begin to rise may at one point generate great competition for resources (...) But even more so when many of the emerging countries have not made fiscal reforms to pay what were the costs of the pandemic, then rising rates, high debt to GDP ratio and competition for resources can at one point close access to emerging countries' markets and that must be warned,” said the Colombian President, Iván Duque, around December last year.
It was a few days ago when the Banco de la República announced the increase in its intervention rate from 4 to 5%. This translates into the amount of money it charges financial institutions for loans. This increase, explained by the entity, is a consequence of the fact that “total inflation continued its upward trend and registered an annual variation of 8.01 per cent in February, in which the food sector stands out, whose annual increase was 23.3%. Inflation without food or regulated increased from 2.49% in December 2021 to 4.11% annually in February.”
On the other hand, the Bank stressed that the dynamics with which the country started in 2022, in terms of its finances, are positive. “The Economic Monitoring Indicator (ISE) for January indicated an annual growth of 7.8%, that the monthly survey of Industry and Commerce showed that manufacturing activity in January showed annual growth of 15.1% and real retail sales increased by 20.9% art, and that the unemployment rate fell by 15.1% in February 2021 to 12.9% in February 2022″.
The impact of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine on the national economy was also highlighted. “In this context, the different measures of inflation expectations have continued to rise. In the case of economic analysts, the monthly survey by the Banco de la República showed that they expect a total inflation of 6.4% by 2022 and 3.8% by 2023″, it was reported.