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IMF turns sights to its Greek bailout contribution
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Now that Greece has secured a European bailout deal, the International Monetary Fund is trying to identify its financial contribution to the 130 billion euro ($172.13 billion) rescue package, IMF officials said on Wednesday.
"We have focused our joint efforts with the Europeans until yesterday on identifying the size of the pie and making sure there will be adequate debt relief for Greece," a senior IMF official said speaking on condition of anonymity. "Now we have to divide up that pie, and that position has not yet been taken."
With Greece already nearing limits of what it is allowed to borrow under IMF rules, the global lender would likely want to maintain, not increase, its current exposure to the country, the official said.
European and IMF sources have told Reuters that the IMF could contribute around 13 billion euros ($17.21 billion) in new money to Greece, in addition to the 9.9 billion euros still undisbursed by the fund from the first bailout. That brings the IMF contribution to about 23 billion euros, sources said.
The IMF contribution would be about 1/10th of the new program, although some European leaders want the IMF to make up one-third of the total contribution, as it did in the Greece's first bailout, approved in May 2010.
In that bailout, the IMF contributed 30 billion euros toward a 110 billion euros rescue.
The IMF has insisted it will not submit the new package to its board for approval until Greece implements a series of so-called prior actions, including passing legislation to make the economy more competitive and labor reforms.
It has said it will also only consider new funding for Greece after private creditors have signed up to a voluntary Greek bond swap, vital to cut Greece's debt from 160 percent of gross domestic product to 120.5 percent by 2020.
"All the cards have been stacked up for it to succeed, but of course there are huge implementation risks over the next few days," an IMF official said. "We have to be realistic, it is not yet in the bank."
Under terms agreed on Tuesday, private holders of some 200 billion euros of Greek bonds will take a loss of 53.5 percent On the face value of their holdings.
"This thing will not work without a very determined reinvigoration of structural reforms on a sustained basis in coming years," the IMF official said of the Greek program.
The U.S. Treasury's under secretary for international affairs, Lael Brainard, on Wednesday praised the "very significant commitment in recent days" made by Greece and its lender.
Greece is working against a deadline of a 14.5 billion euro debt repayment on March 20.
With elections slated in April, IMF officials said Greek political leaders had given their assurances that any changes to economic policies after the vote would be consistent with the objectives of the bailout.
"We have seen in the last couple of months a realignment in Greek politics. ... There is a clear realization in the Greek political elite (of the need) to support these policies to remain competitive in the euro zone," the IMF official added.
(Reporting By Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Leslie Adler)
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