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By Daniela Desantis
ASUNCION, Jan 2 (Reuters) - Paraguay’s finance minister, German Rojas, has handed in his resignation and is expected to be replaced by a highflying 36-year-old central bank official, finance ministry and bank sources said on Friday.
Rojas, who spearheaded Paraguay’s successful sovereign debt issue in August, would be the first minister to quit the Cabinet of President Horacio Cartes since the conservative leader took office in August 2013.
Two sources in the finance ministry said Rojas was leaving, while another official in the central bank said he understood Rojas was stepping down for personal reasons.
“He resigned on the 24th, that’s for sure,” one finance ministry source said.
There was no immediate confirmation from Cartes’ office that Rojas’ resignation had been accepted. Calls to the presidency went unanswered.
Lined up to replace Rojas is Santiago Pena, a U.S.-trained economist. Pena worked for the International Monetary Fund in Washington for three years before taking up his job as one of four directors serving under the central bank’s president in 2012.
Pena was on Friday returning to Paraguay from the coastal resort of Punta del Este in neighbouring Uruguay, the central bank source said.
Rojas had impressed investors during his two years at the helm of the finance ministry, during which the business-friendly government passed a new law setting a cap on the country’s fiscal deficit. But his strict budget management had created tensions with some colleagues and regional governors.
Paraguay completed a $1 billion issue of 30-year bonds in August, offering a yield of 6.1 percent and rated BB- by Fitch. (Reporting by Daniela Desantis; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by W Simon)