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IMF approves 4.3-bln-USD rescue fund for Greece


09:33, January 17, 2013

WASHINGTON, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- The International Monetary Fund ( IMF) announced Wednesday that it has approved the disbursement of a batch of rescue fund in the amount equivalent to 2.798 billion special drawing right (SDR), or about 4.3 billion U.S. dollars, to cash-strapped Greece.

The IMF Executive Board has completed two reviews of Greece's economic performance under a program supported by a four-year Extended Fund Facility (EFF) loan arrangement for Greece, enabling the release of the fund, the IMF said in a statement.

The EFF arrangement, which was approved on March 15, 2012, is part of a joint package of financing with eurozone member states over four years. The loan has been frozen for months amid the deepening eurozone debt crisis.

Last month, the Eurogroup formally approved the disbursement of 49.1 billion euros, or about 64.1 billion U.S. dollars, to Greece under the second international bailout program.

The European Central Bank, the IMF and the European Commission, dubbed as the "troika", have promised a total of some 310 billion U.S. dollars in two rounds of bailout fund for the financially crippled country.

Greece's economic reform program is "moving in the right direction, with strong fiscal adjustment and notable labor-cost competitiveness gains," IMF chief Christine Lagarde said after the Executive Board discussion.

"While the program has been adjusted to take account of the deeper recession and implementation capacity, the strategy remains focused on restoring growth, competitiveness, and debt sustainability. Forceful structural reforms and broad-based domestic support will be needed to meet challenges, alongside long- term support from Greece's European partners," Lagarde said in a statement.

"Greece has made progress with structural reforms, reflected in recent actions to reduce non-wage labor costs and reform the product market. However, much more remains to be done to achieve the critical mass of reforms needed to boost productivity and lower prices," she added.

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