IMF Allocates Azerbaijan $10 Million Loan

BAKU (Reuters)–The International Monetary Fund has decided to allocate $10 million from loan to Azerbaijan under a $300 million ESAF/EFF program–the head of the Fund’s mission said on Thursday.

"We have decided to allocate the first $10 million from an approved $22 million earmark to Azerbaijan in 1998 to support structural reforms in the country," David Owen said at a meeting with Azeri President Haydar Aliyev.

He said the IMF was satisfied with nine percent economic growth in the first half of the year–the stable rate of the national currency and relatively low inflation levels.

"The economy growth and inflation indicators are the best in the CIS," Owen said.

But he noted a substantial balance of paymen’s deficit. "This problem is not so acute because the deficit is covered by foreign investment," Owen said.

The IMF agreed a $300 million ESAF/EFF (Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility/Extended Fund Facility) program in 1996. The loan is being disbursed in three earmarks and is intended to help Azerbaijan push through structural reforms to its ex-Soviet economy.

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