(Adds Finance Minister's comments, background details)
SANTIAGO, Sept 30 Chile's government will
consider issuing debt for the equivalent of up to $10.5 billion
on local and international markets next year, according to a
copy of the 2017 fiscal budget bill seen by Reuters on Friday.
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said on Thursday night
the country's budgeted spending would rise 2.7 percent in 2017
compared with this year, the lowest rate of growth in 14 years,
as a sluggish economy has crimped income.
Next year's budget, which underscores the government's
commitment to reduce the structural deficit by a quarter of a
percentage point of gross domestic demand per year, will amount
to over $60 billion.
"It is a prudent budget that focuses on citizen's
priorities, supports economic growth and allows us to move
forward on the government's commitments," said Finance Minister
Bachelet began her term in 2014, pledging to address
inequality with wide-ranging reforms to taxes, education, the
constitution and more.
But her plans have been partly thwarted by weak economic
growth, a slide in the price of copper, subdued investment, poor
legislative planning and opposition to elements of her reforms
from both the right and left.
(Reporting by Anthony Esposito & Felipe Iturrieta; Editing by
Diane Craft and Sandra Maler)