Egypt says 'significant progress' made towards IMF support package

Egypt says 'significant progress' made towards IMF support package
Egypt's finance minister said the north African country held productive bilateral meetings with the IMF at high-level meetings in Washington this week, and that 'significant progress' was made towards an agreement on their economic programme.
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Egypt's Mohamed Maait said: 'Significant progress was made across all [economic] policies' [source: Getty]

Egypt has finalised a staff-level agreement with the international monetary fund (IMF) on the components of its programme, and will issue an announcement "very soon," the country's finance minister said on Sunday.

"Very productive bilateral discussions were held with IMF staff on the sidelines of the IMF and World Bank's annual meetings in Washington, and significant progress was made across all policies," Mohamed Maait said in a statement.

Egypt began talks with the IMF for a financial support package in March, soon after the Ukrainian crisis threw its already unsettled finances into further disarray and led foreign investors to pull nearly $20 billion out of Egyptian treasury markets in a matter of weeks.

It is hoping to stem a currency crisis that has restricted imports and sparked market unease over foreign debt repayments.

In its own parallel statement on Saturday, the IMF said it had agreed with Egyptian authorities to finalise work to reach a staff-level agreement "very soon".

The policies discussed, according to the IMF statement, included monetary and exchange rate policies that "would enable Egypt to gradually and sustainably rebuild foreign reserves," public debt reduction, social safety net expansion, and increasing competitiveness in the economy.

"We are proceeding with raising the efficiency of public spending, ensuring optimal utilization of state resources, improving the budget structure, and enhancing financial transparency," Maait said.