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Colombia to take out $5.7 billion in new debt -finance minister

Credit: REUTERS/Luisa Gonzalez

Colombia will take out some 19.2 trillion pesos ($5.7 billion) in new debt to finance next year's budget, Finance Minister Alberto Carrasquilla told Congress on Tuesday, without specifying whether the funds would come from bonds, loans or other sources.

BOGOTA, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Colombia will take out some 19.2 trillion pesos ($5.7 billion) in new debt to finance next year's budget, Finance Minister Alberto Carrasquilla told Congress on Tuesday, without specifying whether the funds would come from bonds, loans or other sources.

Carrasquilla did not speak to journalists after his comments to lawmakers, leaving markets confused as to whether the country will issue additional bonds or seek the money elsewhere.

The finance ministry did not immediately respond to requests for clarification.

The government has previously said it would issue local bonds worth 30.1 trillion pesos in 2020, take out $1.6 billion in multilateral loans and issue $1.7 billion in foreign bonds.

Carrasquilla also told Congress the government would "re-contract" debt of 28 trillion pesos, without specifying whether that refers to a roll-over in bonds or some other operation.

"The debt that matures next year is 28.4 trillion, we're going to re-contract it and that has a value of 28 trillion," Carrasquilla said. "We are also going to contract new debt of 19.2 trillion."

Carrasquilla has said the government will need to raise an additional 8 trillion pesos to finance its proposed budget for next year.

The government's proposal would be a 9.16% increase on the budget for this year, including increases in operating costs, debt payments and the defense budget.

Lawmakers in the country's deeply divided congress are expected to vote on Tuesday on whether to approve the budget total of some $80 billion.

($1 = 3,368.80 Colombian pesos)

(Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb and Carlos Vargas Editing by Paul Simao)

((julia.cobb@thomsonreuters.com; +57-316-389-7187))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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