UPDATE 1-Ukraine optimistic on getting $15 billion IMF loan

Fri May 10, 2013 9:18am EDT

(Adds comment on IMF requirements)

By Nick Tattersall

ISTANBUL May 10 (Reuters) - Ukraine is optimistic that it will sign a $15 billion loan deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the near future after positive talks, Finance Minister Yuri Kolobov told Reuters on Friday.

"The (view) of both sides is that the negotiations are very fruitful and that in the nearest future both sides are interested in signing this agreement," Kolobov said on the sidelines of a European Bank for Reconstruction and Development conference in Istanbul.

A previous $15 billion programme was frozen in early 2011 after the Kiev government refused to raise heavily subsidised household gas and heating prices.

The gas price remains one of the main stumbling blocks in the way of a new loan deal as President Viktor Yanukovich's government continues to resist calls for unpopular austerity measures, analysts say.

"Right now both sides, we and the IMF, are looking for a special model in this case and I think in the nearest future we will find this model which will be suitable for both sides," Kolobov said when asked about IMF pressure for such measures.

Favourable conditions on global capital markets - propped up by liquidity injections from major central banks - are strengthening Ukraine's hand, allowing it to issue Eurobonds at relatively low rates.

(Editing by Carolyn Cohn Editing by Jeremy Gaunt.)

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