March 20, 2015 / 11:15 PM / in 4 years

Peru says it might pay off $1.29 billion worth of its dollar debt

LIMA, March 20 (Reuters) - Peru may set aside $1.29 billion this year to pay off debt held in dollars after issuing about the same amount in sovereign bonds in the local sol currency this week, the government said on Friday.

The move would help Peru’s bid to boost the amount of debt it holds in soles , while extending maturities and locking in better interest rates, the finance ministry said.

“This year, the finance ministry could allocate about 4 billion soles ($1.29 billion) for the prepayment of debt in foreign currency,” the ministry said in a statement.

Peru issued about $2 billion in sovereign and global bonds this week ahead of the expected rise in U.S. borrowing costs this year, the ministry said. The operations extended the average life of Peru’s debt to 12.59 years from 12.3 years.

About 3.5 billion soles in 2031 sovereign bonds ($1.13 billion) were issued for debt management and another 926 million soles ($299 million) for investment projects, the ministry said.

Peru, rated A3/BBB+/BBB+, also sold $545 million in 2050 dollar securities to finance the budget next year, the ministry said.

$1 = 3.10 soles Reporting By Mitra Taj. Editing by Andre Grenon

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