Colombia’s president bets on ‘speedy recovery’ after coronavirus shock

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Iván Duque shrugs off worries about state finances and rules out tax increases

Gideon Long in Bogotá and Michael Stott in London

Colombia’s President Iván Duque has brushed off investor concerns about government finances and ruled out tax increases in the near future, betting instead on a swift economic recovery to overcome the twin shocks of coronavirus and low oil prices.

The Andean nation was Latin America’s fastest-growing economy before the pandemic hit, expanding 3.4 per cent last year, and has a long record of prudent economic policy which has helped it overcome periodic bouts of political and social turbulence.

In an interview with the Financial Times, the 43-year-old conservative president, a former official at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, pointed to the successful issuance last week of $2.5bn in sovereign bonds as evidence of “confidence in Colombia and confidence in our macroeconomic policy”.