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Capital Markets

Latin America: Peña presses on as Paraguay outperforms

Five years of strong economic growth have seen Paraguay decouple from its larger, troubled neighbours. International investors have taken note. Finance minister Santiago Peña is not resting on his laurels – bond deals, PPP initiatives and pro-business policies are all in the pipeline.

Santiago Pena sign-600
Paraguay’s finance minister Santiago Peña

This year Paraguay is marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of one of its most famous writers, Augusto Roa Bastos, who once described his landlocked country as: “An island surrounded by land”. The small Latin American country, with a population below 7 million, has long been overshadowed by its large neighbours of Argentina and Brazil. 

Paraguay’s finance minister Santiago Peña remembers attending a lecture on Latin America by economist Jeffrey Sachs as a post-graduate at Columbia University. He says Sachs’s lecture covered all of the Latin American countries before closing with the briefest remarks about Paraguay: “About which he said he wouldn’t give any details because he simply didn’t know any. So you can either get upset about that or you can try to reverse this”.

The country has been attempting the latter. It re-entered the international markets in 2013 with a $500 million 10-year bond and has been a regular issuer since (including a $1 billion 30-year benchmark in August 2014).

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