Colombia doubles IMF line of credit

14 Jun 16

Colombia has more than doubled its billion-dollar line of credit from the International Monetary Fund in the face of growing global economic risks.

Yesterday, the fund said its executive board had approved a new, two-year $11.5bn arrangement with the country, and cancelled its predecessor, worth $5.4bn, which was due to run for another year.

The IMF’s flexible credit facility provides eligible governments with access to financial support can be drawn upon in emergencies to prevent a crisis from occurring. Colombia has maintained access to the facility since 2009.

While the fund said Colombia currently has no plans to use the fund, the country requested a precautionary increase on its credit line in the face of the oil price slump, a devaluing peso and a sluggish regional and global economy.

“Global risks have risen with the potential to increase the severity of the shocks that Colombia could suffer, despite the strength of its fundamentals and policy frameworks,” explained Mitsuhiro Furusawa, IMF deputy managing director and acting chair of the fund’s executive board.

“The new arrangement, with higher access, will provide added buffers and continue to play a significant role in supporting the authorities’ policies in presence of these downside risks.

“It will also provide policy flexibility and serve as a temporary insurance that reinforces market confidence. The authorities intend to phase out its use as risks to the global outlook and commodity prices substantially recede.”

The fund approved an increased credit line for Mexico at the end of May, again due to concerns around increased exposure to risk due to the country’s close ties with the global economy.

The economy of Latin America and the Caribbean has contracted for two consecutive years for the first time since the region’s debt crisis of the 1980s. A few of the region’s largest economies, particularly Brazil, are facing recession.

As well as low commodity prices, the region’s economies are especially vulnerable to the slowdown in China, a key destination for much of their exports.

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