IMF's loan to Belarus reaches 2.23 billion dollars

WASHINGTON -The International Monetary Fund granted Belarus access to 700-million-dollars worth of emergency funds, bringing a crisis-easing loan package to 2.23 billion dollars.

The IMF executive board said Minsk's economic performance had warranted the disbursement of about 699.5 million dollars, part of a 3.63 billion dollar package.

The loans, now worth around two percent of the country's annual gross domestic product, were agreed in January in a bid to offset the impact of the global economic crisis.

Belarus' gross domestic product is expected to shrink 1.2 percent this year, according to IMF forecasts.

The IMF said the country "has made good progress in adjusting its policies in response to the global crisis," especially through exchange rate adjustments and tight fiscal policy.

Belarus, which was facing an export slump, earlier agreed to devalue its currency by 20 percent

"The authorities have made important progress" implementing reforms that have facilitated private sector development.

Belarus' economic contraction was "modest relative to other crisis-hit countries," the IMF also said, but it added the loan was necessary.

"Securing sufficient financial resources from the international community is essential for Belarus' reform efforts," the IMF said.

"In this context, the authorities stand ready to implement contingency measures should a financing gap emerge."




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