May 7, 2020 / 2:19 PM / 25 days ago

REFILE-IMF shifts Ukraine talks to standby arrangement to address pandemic -spokesman

(Corrects day of week in first paragraph to Thursday)

WASHINGTON, May 7 (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund said on Thursday it has shifted its discussions with Ukraine to providing an 18-month Standby Arrangement to allow the government more room to respond to the coronavirus pandemic in the near term.

IMF spokesman Gerry Rice told a regular news briefing that at the start of 2020, the Fund and Ukraine had been discussing a more conditional three-year Extended Fund Facility.

But he said they were now discussing the 18-month Standby Arrangement because of “the unprecedented uncertainty surrounding the economic and financial outlook, and the need to focus policy priorities on near-term containment and stabilization.” (Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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