Colombian State to Sell $1.7 Billion in Assets

Colombia plans to raise 3 trillion pesos ($1.7 billion) through asset sales next year that may include a 1.5 percent stake in the oil company Ecopetrol SA, Finance Minister Mauricio Cardenas said.

The assets would include companies in the electricity and mining industries, Cardenas told reporters in Bogota today. The sales will help bring the consolidated budget, which includes states, municipalities and state-run companies, into balance next year after a shortfall equivalent to 0.4 percent of gross domestic product this year, he said.

The government also plans to raise 30 trillion pesos in the local bond market next year, of which 23 trillion pesos will be raised through bond auctions, Cardenas said.

The government expects the central government deficit to remain at 2.4 percent of GDP, unchanged on this year. The government will sell $2.6 billion of bonds overseas, money that won’t be brought into the country, Cardenas said. In June, the government said it would need to raise 28 trillion pesos in the local market in 2013 and sell $2 billion in overseas debt.

GDP will expand about 4.8 percent next year, up from 4 percent in 2012, Cardenas forecast.

The yield on Colombia’s benchmark 10 percent bonds due in July 2024 has fallen 193 basis points this year, to 5.7 percent. The peso has appreciated 10.1 percent to 1,760.75 per U.S. dollar, the biggest gain after the Polish zloty and Hungarian forint among currencies tracked by Bloomberg.

(Corrects previous plans for foreign debt sale in fourth paragraph in story published Dec. 28)
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