IMF approves 1.7-B euro loan payout to Greece

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The multilateral lender releases 1.72 billion euros ($2.29 billion) in aid for Greece after completing a review of the country's performance under the international rescue program

WASHINGTON, United States – The International Monetary Fund released 1.72 billion euros ($2.29 billion) in aid for Greece on Monday (Tuesday, July 30 in Manila) after completing a review of the country’s performance under the international rescue program.

The latest disbursement means Greece has received around 8.24 billion euros ($10.94 billion) from the IMF under the bailout coordinated with the European Union and the European Central Bank in March 2012, the IMF said in a statement.

The IMF Executive Board, in completing the fourth review of Greece’s performance, also altered some of the criteria for the troubled country, the Washington-based institution said in a subsequent statement.

The Board actions also included approval of a waiver of applicability of three end-June performance criteria on which data are not yet available, the Fund said: the overall stock of government debt, government domestic arrears, and the general government balance.

The board also approved the modification of the end-September performance standard on privatization receipts.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde cited the Greek authorities’ “commendable” progress in reducing fiscal and external imbalances but said much more work was needed.

“Progress on institutional and structural reforms, in the public sector and beyond, has still not been commensurate with the problems facing Greece,” Lagarde said.

“Greater reform efforts remain key to an economic recovery and lasting growth.”

On Friday, the 18-nation eurozone approved the release of 4.0 billion euros in bailout funds for Greece after it had met program conditions.

Twice bailed-out Greece still faces a funding shortfall of some 3.8 billion euros late next year but its troika of international creditors are not overly concerned, a senior EU official said Friday, on condition of anonymity.

The Greek bailouts agreed by the EU, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund are financed through mid-2014, the official said.

Greece was first bailed out for 110 billion euros in 2010 but when that failed, got a second rescue worth 130 billion euros plus a private sector debt write-off totaling more than 100 billion euros.

In exchange, Athens has had to implement Draconian austerity measures, including drastic cuts to pensions and civil service payrolls while the economy has remained stuck in recession for 6 years. –

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