UPDATE 1-Brazil's Caixa sticks to fundraising plan despite downgrade

Thu Mar 21, 2013 8:14pm EDT

* Caixa's Percival expects yields to decline soon

* Moody's move follows years of fast credit growth

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 of Brazil's largest mortgage lender.

Borrowing costs for Caixa may tick up higher in the short run but will decline when the bank begins to present its fundraising plans to investors, said Chief Financial Officer Márcio Percival in São Paulo. He did not give a timetable for those meetings or when the bank could tap global credit markets.

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

His remarks come a day after Moody's Investors Service lowered the long-term issuer ratings of Caixa, citing an eroding capital position after years of rapid credit expansion. Analysts led by Alexandre Albuquerque cut Caixa's ratings to "Baa2" from "A3" with a positive outlook - meaning that an upgrade would be likely to happen within 12 to 18 months.

The unexpected decision reflects the growing concern among investors and analysts over Brazil's increased use of state lenders to revive growth regardless of the strategy's fiscal consequences. According to Percival, investors got in touch with Caixa executives throughout the day, trying to understand the extent of the decision.

Caixa is ramping up borrowing and requesting more frequent capital injections from its largest shareholder, Brazil's federal government, as it embarks on an ambitious growth plan. Caixa has been instructed by President Dilma Rousseff to boost credit access for individuals and companies while aggressively reducing borrowing costs.

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