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Candidate Kuczynski: Investors Eager to Finance Peru's Infrastructure

  • Associated Press

Presidential candidate Pedro Pablo Kuczynski of the Peruvians for Change party pats a horse during a rally on the outskirts of Lima, Peru, May 3, 2016.

Presidential candidate Pedro Pablo Kuczynski of the Peruvians for Change party pats a horse during a rally on the outskirts of Lima, Peru, May 3, 2016.

Peruvian presidential contender Pedro Pablo Kuczynski said Thursday that foreign investors would be eager to finance his proposed infrastructure projects if he was elected in a June 5 runoff election.

The 77-year-old former prime minister said he met with several creditors during a recent trip to the United States, where he once worked as a Wall Street investor and World Bank economist.

"I'd barely arrived to a lunch with financiers and investors, and I already had in my briefcase an offer for $5 billion," Kuczynski said in broadcast comments at an event with farmers. "I told them, 'Let's not get ahead of ourselves. I still haven't arrived' " as Peru's president.

Kuczynski said he would ensure that every town in Peru has a drinking water distribution system by the end of his five-year term if elected. He also proposed building a new commuter train along Peru's central coast.

Both Kuczynski and his runoff rival, former center-right lawmaker Keiko Fujimori, 40, have promised to roll out a slew of new infrastructure projects to drive the economy forward at the end of a decade-long mining boom.

Different strategies

While Fujimori has said she would tap a rainy-day fund in the Finance Ministry to pay for new projects, Kuczynski said it would be smarter to sell bonds or secure new loans.

Peru, a top global producer of copper, zinc and gold, is rated A3 by Moody's and BBB+ by Standard & Poor's and Fitch.

"Peru today can raise capital at 20 years at less than 3 percent. For a country that hopefully will be growing by 5 or 6 percent, it's actually a negative rate," Kuczynski said. "It's comforting to me to know that we can finance these things ... without depleting our fiscal reserves."

Recent opinion polls show Kuczynski and Fujimori are running neck and neck.

Markets rallied after the two conservative candidates defeated a leftist rival last month to move on to a second-round presidential election June 5.

Kuczynski is popular in the capital, Lima, especially among young people and the country's upper classes, but he lacks strong support in rural Peru.

Fujimori, the eldest daughter of imprisoned ex-President Alberto Fujimori, faces stiff opposition from detractors of her father's authoritarian government but enjoys the backing of his admirers.

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