BOGOTA (Dow Jones)–Colombia’s foreign debt, as a percentage of gross economic output, climbed in December from the same month in 2010, driven by a surge in foreign debt taken by the private sector, according to data released Monday night by the central bank.

Colombia’s total foreign debt, which includes the government and the private sector, stood at 22.8% of gross domestic product in December from 22.4% a year earlier.

The total foreign debt stood at $75.85 billion in December, up from $64.73 billion in the same month in 2010. Both figures for December are higher than November, which stood $73.32 billion and was 22.1% of GDP, the central bank said.

The higher outstanding debt is largely the result of the private sector taking on more foreign loans, data from the central bank show. Foreign debt owed by the private sector in December stood at $33 billion, up from $25.19 billion a year earlier. The government debt in December also rose, to $42.76 billion from $39.54 billion in the same month in 2010.