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IMF official hopeful on loan talks with Egypt

Updated: 2013-04-02 16:38
( Xinhua)

DUBAI - An International Monetary Fund (IMF) official said Tuesday he is optimistic about the upcoming talks this month with the Egyptian government on a pending 4.8-billion-US dollar loan.

An IMF delegation will travel Wednesday to Cairo to renew talks with Egypt which have been ongoing since mid-2011 but without significant progress, Masood Ahmed, IMF's director for Middle East and Central Asia, told Xinhua at the opening of the one-day annual summit of Arab finance ministers. But he did not gave a time-line for conclusion of the talks.

"We look forward to these discussions and we are optimistic that progress will be seen," said Ahmed.

Egypt has been facing continuous turmoil since former President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in February 2011, while the incumbent government under Mohamed Morsi is struggling with an acute financial crisis, a plummeting Egyptian pound and a tumbling tourism industry.

The IMF said frequently in the past that it expected from Egypt financial reforms, such as a cut in subsidies and more fiscal discipline.

Egypt has now a 42 percent budget deficit of around $30 billion. From January 2011 to December 2012, foreign currency reserves at the central bank fell from 36 billion dollars to an alarming level of $15 billion.

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