October 29, 2019 / 1:51 PM / 16 days ago

Panama's government raises budget borrowing cap for 2019

PANAMA CITY (Reuters) - Panama’s government has decided to borrow more funds this year than previously authorized, as President Laurentino Cortizo hopes to boost economic growth in the Central American nation.

The plan was authorized late on Monday after Cortizo, who took office in July, argued his administration inherited more public debt than anticipated, which forced him to propose a bigger deficit.

The plan will allow the government’s 2019 deficit to reach 3.5% of gross domestic product, up from a 2% limit approved by lawmakers at the beginning of the year.

The higher borrowing limit was proposed by Cortizo’s finance ministry, and announced in a brief statement from the national assembly without providing further details.

Finance Minister Hector Alexander has said that the government aims to gradually lower the budget deficit back to the 2% target by 2022.

Reporting by Elida Moreno; Writing by David Alire Garcia; Editing by David Gregorio

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