Colombia to pay $1.29 bln of global bonds early

BOGOTA, Feb 16 (Reuters) - Colombia will pay $1.29 billion of global bonds in March, earlier than planned, by using funds it raised in international capital markets last month, the finance ministry said on Tuesday.

The bonds were due to mature in July this year but an early redemption clause gives Colombia the option of paying them beforehand, at a price determined during the bonds’ issue which must be announced at least 30 days in advance, the ministry said.

Colombia issued global bonds worth $1.3 billion with a 40-year placement on Jan. 13, while also reopening earlier-issued bonds worth $1.54 billion.

Of the reopened bonds, $1.23 billion formed part of a debt-management operation to partially replace global bonds maturing in 2021, 2024, and 2027.

According to the finance ministry, this is the first time Colombia has used an early redemption clause, cutting the risk of refinancing, as well as market risks.

Latin America’s fourth-largest economy was forced to drastically increase its debt level to address needs caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which led its gross domestic product to shrink by an unprecedented 6.8% last year. (Reporting by Nelson Bocanegra Writing by Oliver Griffin Editing by Alistair Bell)