March 24, 2020 / 12:43 AM / 16 days ago

UPDATE 1-Chile will delay bond issue to fund coronavirus aid plan

(Adds short-term bonds issue, background)

By Aislinn Laing

SANTIAGO, March 23 (Reuters) - The Chilean government said on Monday it would delay a bond issue planned for Wednesday so it could provide additional financing needs for a new emergency package to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.

The Finance Ministry said previously it would sell Treasury bonds of up to $8.7 billion in 2020, $5.4 billion of which would be peso-denominated and $3.4 billion on the open market.

The issue was aimed at financing a $5.5 billion package of measures announced by the government to save jobs and help small businesses after massive social protests that began in October over the high cost of living and inequality.

Last week, the government launched an economic package with an $11.7 billion price tag - spending equivalent to 4.7% of Chile’s gross domestic product - in response to a general shutdown following the global coronavirus outbreak.

The Finance Ministry said on Monday it would amend the value of the peso-denominated bonds it would sell on the open market.

It also said it would issue short-term Treasury notes of 60, 90 or 180 days in the second quarter with the aim of “facilitating credit to the real economy, including households and companies.”

The value and dates for the new sales would be confirmed soon, it added.

Chile has 746 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and two deaths. President Sebastian Pinera`s popularity rating of 12% following the social protests - a record low for a Chilean president - nudged up to 18% this week, according to poll firm Cadem.

Reporting by Aislinn Laing; Editing by Peter Cooney

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