Caixa sticks to $2.5 bln debt fundraising plan despite downgrade

SAO PAULO, March 21 Thu Mar 21, 2013 7:36pm EDT

SAO PAULO, March 21 (Reuters) - Caixa Econômica Federal will stick to its original plan to raise up to $2.5 billion in bonds and loans in global debt markets this year despite a decision by Moody's Investors Service to lower the issuer ratings for Brazil's largest mortgage lender, an official told Reuters on Thursday.

"We could even pay a little more in borrowing costs but the plan to raise funds overseas has been maintained," said Chief Financial Officer Márcio Percival in São Paulo.

Moody's Investors Service lowered on Wednesday the long-term issuer ratings of Caixa and state development bank BNDES, citing their eroding capital position after years of rapid credit expansion. Analysts led by Alexandre Albuquerque cut Caixa's ratings to "Baa2" from "A3." Both rankings, which are within investment-grade ratings, bear a positive outlook - meaning that an upgrade would be likely to happen within 12 to 18 months.

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