* Paraguay plans first global issue for 13 years
* Government to start roadshow for bond next week - IFR
* Economy set to rebound sharply thanks to soy harvest
NEW YORK, Jan 10 Fitch gave Paraguay an initial
rating of BB-minus with a stable outlook on Thursday as the
South American country prepares a roadshow with investors to
drum up interest in its first global debt sale since 2000.
The economy of the soy- and beef-exporting nation is
expected to rebound strongly this year due to favorable crop
weather and the center-right government has said it plans to tap
global markets for up to $550 million in February.
Paraguay will start global roadshows next week via Citigroup
Inc and Bank of America Corp ahead of the possible
issue, Thomson Reuters news service IFR reported.
Officials will meet investors in London and Lima on Friday.
They will head to Los Angeles and Santiago next week, finishing
up in New York and Boston on Jan. 15 and Jan. 16, IFR said.
Thursday's ratings announcement means the South American
country is now rated Ba3/BB/BB- respectively by Moody's,
Standard & Poor's and Fitch, which praised "prudent" policies
but warned against volatile economic performance.
"The Paraguayan economy has shown higher average growth
rates relative to the 'BB' median, but growth volatility has
also been greater due to the large size of its agriculture
sector and the negative shocks it receives from adverse weather
cycles," Fitch said in a statement.
Paraguay's economy shrank 1.2 percent last year due to a
poor soy harvest and a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak that hit
beef exports, but the central bank expects a 10.5 percent bounce
Farmers' luck has improved this season. A record soybean
harvest is forecast and the country has won back former markets
for its beef exports.
Paraguay's planned debt sale would follow in the footsteps
of neighboring Bolivia, another newcomer to global credit
markets that sold $500 million in 10-year bonds at par to yield
4.875 percent in October.
Central Bank chief Jorge Corvalan told Reuters last year
Paraguay was not simply aiming at a one-off issue but wanted to
"build a closer future relationship with the markets."
Paraguay will hold a presidential election on April 21.