Belarus receives 2nd tranche of IMF loan

Belarus has received $679 million as the second tranche of an International Monetary Fund loan, the Belarussian central bank said on Thursday.

Earlier this week, the IMF approved a second tranche of $679 million, and increased financing support for the country by $1 billion to $3.52 billion under a revised economic programme.

Central bank spokesman Mikhail Zhuravovich told Reuters the IMF had turned over the sum in full after initially sending just over $600 million. The loan programme's first tranche of $788 million was received at the beginning of the year.

In announcing the expanded programme, the IMF said Belarussian authorities would strive for a balanced budget in 2009 despite lower revenues, keep monetary policy tight and allow more exchange rate flexibility within a fluctuation band.

Belarus last week widened the exchange rate band of the Belarussian rouble, a step the IMF said would help improve the current account, allow more currency flexibility and ease pressure on international reserves. (Reporting by Andrei Makhovsky; Writing by Ron Popeski)



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