UPDATE 3-Colombia widens deficit goal in revised financing plan

Fri Dec 28, 2012 5:43pm EST

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By Helen Murphy and Nelson Bocanegra

BOGOTA Dec 28 (Reuters) - Colombia presented a revision of its fiscal accounts and financing plan for next year, increasing debt sales and widening its central government budget deficit target for 2013 on expectations of a lower oil price and production level, Finance Minister Mauricio Cardenas said on Friday.

The projection for the central government deficit in 2013 was revised to an equivalent of 2.4 percent of gross domestic product from an earlier goal of 2.2 percent. For 2012, Cardenas expects to meet the target of 2.4 percent of GDP.

The consolidated budget deficit - which include states, municipalities and state-run companies - will close this year at 0.4 percent of GDP, better than the 1.2 percent of GDP expected, Cardenas said, while next year the budget would be balanced. The government had previously said next year's consolidated budget deficit would reach 1 percent of GDP.

Cardenas said the 2013 numbers were calculated using an estimate of oil at $91 per barrel versus the previous projection of $101 per barrel. He lowered his target for oil production next year to 981,000 barrels per day from 1.06 million per day in the earlier financing plan announced back in June.

"We have revised our projections against the earlier plan published in June and have revised down our prices and our oil production," Cardenas told reporters in Bogota.

"Given that, we have to reflect the lower income expected, and so for the moment we consider it appropriate that the fiscal program is more in line with what, in reality, could happen."

Colombia will issue as much as 30 trillion pesos ($16.9 billion) in local Treasury bonds, or TES, next year, up from 28 trillion pesos expected in the earlier financing plan. Of that, 23 trillion pesos will be sold at auction, Cardenas said.

The higher TES sales will make up for fewer funds from privatizations next year, Cardenas said. The government sees 3 trillion pesos now from sale of state entities, down from an earlier goal of 5 trillion, he said.

The government also raised its planned overseas bonds sales for next year to $2.6 billion from $2 billion expected in the June financing plan.

The government revised down its GDP growth forecast for 2012 to 4 percent from an earlier prediction of 4.8 percent as weak third quarter data crimped the likelihood it would meet the earlier goal.

Growth will likely pick up again next year to 4.8 percent next year, Cardenas said on Friday. (Reporting by Monica Garcia; Editing by David Gregorio, Andrew Hay and Leslie Adler)

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