Romania reaches deal with IMF on new loan funds


Tue, May 10, 2011 - Page 10

Romania and the IMF reached a staff-level agreement to make available 475 million euros (US$683 million) in funds under its new precautionary loan, IMF mission head Jeffrey Franks said.

The mission will recommend to the fund’s board to make available the first installment of the 5 billion euros precautionary accord with the IMF and the EU after Bucharest met its quarterly budget-deficit target, Franks said at a news conference in Bucharest yesterday.

The government has sufficient reserves and has said it doesn’t plan to draw the funds, which will be stored in Washington for emergency withdrawal.

The east European country is trying to attract investors to help spur its recovery after using bailout funds to keep its economy afloat during a two-year recession. The government plans to sell minority stakes in its utilities Transgaz SA and Transelectrica SA and largest oil company OMV Petrom SA to finance investments.

Romania will have difficulty meeting its pledge to narrow its budget deficit to 3 percent of GDP next year from 4.4 percent this year, Franks said.

Romania’s central bank raised its inflation forecast for this year for the second time on Thursday to 5.1 percent as surging global prices pressure domestic food and fuel costs. The country had the EU’s highest inflation rate in March at 8 percent.