Paraguay to Sell $550 Million Bonds by January, Franco Says

Paraguay aims to sell its first global bonds by mid-January as President Federico Franco seeks to tap the lowest emerging-market borrowing costs to accelerate development in the land-locked South American country.

Officials are meeting with investors ahead of the planned sale of $550 million in securities, Franco said in an interview today at Bloomberg’s headquarters in New York. Franco, who took office in June after former President Fernando Lugo was impeached, vowed to reduce the country’s dependence on the regional trade bloc known as Mercosur, develop oil and gas resources and build an aluminum smelter plant.

“We’ve come to see if we can sell an unprecedented amount of bonds next year so that Paraguay can join the family of nations in which it’s safe to invest,” Franco said.

Paraguay joins emerging-market countries including Zambia and Bolivia in seeking to take advantage of record-low yields by raising funds overseas. The yield on emerging-market debt fell to a record 4.71 percent on Sept. 11 and was at 4.77 percent yesterday, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. EMBI Global indexes. Angola, which shares Paraguay’s BB- rating from Standard & Poor’s, sold $1 billion of debt in the form of loan participation notes due in seven years to yield 7 percent in August for its first international issue.

S&P removed Paraguay from a negative credit-watch on Aug. 29, saying the political turmoil in the country from Lugo’s ouster would have a “limited impact” on the economy.

Paraguay’s economy may grow as much as 12 percent in 2013 after not expanding this year, Franco said.

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