Crucial talks with the IMF set to resume
Egypt hopes to restart talks with the Washington-headquartered IMF in January for a $4.8bn loan package considered essential to rescue the ailing economy, according to Prime Minister Hisham Kandil.
The announcement was made on 30 December, and follows the decision a few weeks earlier to postpone talks with the IMF while the government focused on getting a new constitution approved in a national referendum.
With the constitution now approved, President Mohamed Mursi is eager to shift the focus to the economy, which is in desperate need of stimulus. Foreign exchanges reserves have dropped to “critical” levels according to the central bank, and the Egyptian pound has fallen to record lows against the US dollar. Since the revolution that ousted former president Hosni Mubarak in early 2011, the central bank has spent $20bn trying to support the pound.
In addition to helping prop up the currency, the IMF package is seen as a vital first step to unlocking further financial support from international donors.
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