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Colombia Reduces Planned Foreign Bond Sales to Ease Peso Gains

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Feb. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Colombia is scaling back plans for overseas bond sales this year by $1 billion as part of its bid to ease gains in the local currency.

Colombia will sell $600 million in foreign bonds in the remainder of this year after issuing $1 billion of notes last month, Finance Minister Mauricio Cardenas told reporters in Bogota. The total is down 38 percent from the $2.6 billion the government had said in December it would issue in overseas debt.

The Andean country is stepping up efforts to curb the peso’s 26 percent gain against the dollar since 2008, which has hurt exporters’ profits and helped fuel the highest jobless rate in Latin America. Colombia will buy $1 billion in the currency market to pay for interest and bonds coming due this year, the Finance Ministry said in an e-mailed statement today.

“We continue to reinforce all the measures to seek a more competitive exchange rate, and what we’ve done here is no small thing,” Cardenas said in announcing the bond-sale plan.

The central bank also said Jan. 28 that it will buy at least $30 million a day in the currency market, bringing purchases in the foreign-exchange market to $3 billion between February and May.

Colombia will borrow $1 billion from multilateral lenders this year, Cardenas said. That amount is unchanged from what the government had announced in its 2013 Financing Plan.

To contact the reporters on this story: Andrea Jaramillo in Bogota at ajaramillo1@bloomberg.net; Oscar Medina in Bogota at omedinacruz@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Papadopoulos at papadopoulos@bloomberg.net

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