Pakistan making progress in economic reforms, says IMF

WASHINGTON Sat May 10, 2014 12:15pm EDT

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WASHINGTON May 10 (Reuters) - Pakistan has made progress in its economic reforms and the International Monetary Fund's board will likely meet in late June to decide whether to clear the way for the latest installment in a $6.6 billion loan, the fund said on Saturday.

The IMF "is encouraged by the overall progress made in pushing ahead with policies to strengthen macroeconomic stability and reviving investment and growth," said Jeffrey Franks, IMF mission chief for Pakistan.

"Economic indicators are generally improving, with growth gaining momentum, external finance improving, and credit to the private sector rising. However, core and headline inflation are also rising," Franks said in a statement.

A staff report was tentatively scheduled to be considered by the IMF executive board in late June and, if approved, the review would make an additional $550 million available to Pakistan, he said.

The IMF saved Pakistan from possible default by agreeing last September to lend it $6.6 billion over three years, making the loan conditional on economic reforms such as a longstanding promise to privatize loss-making state companies.

The IMF disburses loan tranches after confirming a country is on track with the conditions of the bailout. To date, Pakistan has received three tranches totaling about $1.6 billion from the lender. (Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

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