Colombia preparing for peso fall, bond rate rise
Foreign investors have continued buying Colombian-peso denominated government bonds, despite a weakening currency, says Michel Janna
Colombia is gearing up for a weakening of its currency and
higher borrowing costs as the US Federal Reserve lifts its
quantitative easing program, the country's director of public
credit told LatinFinance.
The Andean country filled its bond needs for 2014 when
it issued a $2bn 30-year bond in late January taking
advantage of tighter spreads and high demand from investors.
But Michel Janna said that things were getting tougher for
Colombia and other Latin American countries as capital markets
are turning volatile.
"We'll probably have a higher interest rate, higher
financing rates than the ones we have enjoyed in the past few
years … but this is a new equilibrium, a new reality and
we have to be ready for it," he said.
He also warned that the local currency is coming under
pressure as a result of the Fed's efforts to tighten monetary
policy, which could deter investors from the peso-denominated
"It's true that with the end of QE we'll probably have a
higher exchange rate than last year," he said, adding that he
still expected the exchange rate to stay between 1,950 and
2,100 COP per dollar, a range that finance minister Mauricio
Cardenas has described as "desirable".
The Colombian peso has weakened nearly 6.2% this year,
according to Central Bank data, and closed at 2,046.6 on
However, Janna said Colombia saw a 1% increase in foreign
holdings in its local bond market in January, a month in which
foreign investors pulled billions of dollars from EM funds
Colombia's success in the capital markets, he said, is due
to its fundamentals, including good economic growth, low
inflation and recent rating upgrades.
"That creates a suitable environment for investors, who see
Colombia as an emerging market that is different from the other
emerging markets that are having problems," he said.