Egypt seeks to increase $4.8 bln IMF loan - minister

CAIRO, April 7 Sun Apr 7, 2013 3:20am EDT

CAIRO, April 7 (Reuters) - Egypt is seeking to increase its previously-requested $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund to cover its soaring budget deficit, the planning minister said in comments carried by two local newspapers on Sunday.

"Egypt will intensify its efforts in the spring meetings of the IMF in the period from April 16-21 to receive additional funding to cover the financing deficit until mid-2015," Ashraf El-Araby said in remarks carried by Al Masry Al Youm newspaper.

"There are ongoing discussions to increase the loan, estimated at $4.8 billion but it may rise, especially with the increase in the budget deficit to $20 billion," he was quoted as saying.

The minister told Al-Mal daily financial newspaper that if a deal with the IMF is not reached before May, talks will be postponed until October when parliamentary elections are expected to start. An IMF delegation is currently in Cairo for loan talks.

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