News ID: 171131
Published: 1119 GMT October 29, 2016

IMF expects board to consider Egypt loan within weeks

IMF expects board to consider Egypt loan within weeks

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that a $12 billion loan program for Egypt should soon be ready for board approval and insisted that it would not call for cuts to food subsidies.

Progress has been made on a number of objectives and actions under that program and we expect the program to come to the board within the next few weeks," IMF spokesman Gerry Rice told a news briefing in Washington.

Egypt is battling a severe shortage of foreign currency that has crippled its economy and threatens to fuel spiraling inflation as it negotiates the final pre-conditions of the IMF deal, which include movement toward a flexible exchange rate.

Speculation that this will mean a swift devaluation of the pound drove Egypt's currency to a new black-market low of 16.8 to the dollar, against the inflated official rate of 8.8 to the dollar.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said in Riyadh that ‘local circumstances’ will determine the best way for Egypt to deal with its exchange-rate crisis, but she welcomed the Egyptian government's willingness to do so.

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