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Borrower view: Colombia seeks liquid potential

In his last interview as director of public credit for Colombia, Felipe Sardi talks to Lawrence White about the strategies his successor will inherit, his efforts to increase the liquidity of Colombian securities and his plans for the federation of coffee growers.

Felipe Sardi, the director of public credit Colombia “By doing the right transactions, by changing the currency mix and extending the curve, we are back in the minds of foreign investors”
Felipe Sardi, Colombia

Eighteen months ago, Colombia’s debt profile appeared a trifle misshapen. Symptoms included an unhealthy mix of liquid and illiquid bonds, too much outstanding Eurobond debt and a 50 to 60 basis points spread between the global and the local yield curves for its peso-denominated treasury bonds. Felipe Sardi, the director of public credit, who left on April 15 to work with the Colombian federation of coffee growers, believes that his successor inherits a patient in much better condition. “It was frustrating taking our medicine and being ignored: Peru, Brazil and Mexico were reducing their spreads faster than us and investors weren’t too interested in us. Now, by doing the right transactions, by changing the currency mix and extending the curve, we are back in the minds of foreign investors.”

Having bought back much of the outstanding illiquid Eurobond debt, Sardi has turned his main focus to an innovative local funding strategy combining purely local issuance with the global TES bonds for foreign investors.

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