Greece asks euro zone bailout fund for early IMF loan repayment

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece submitted an official request to the euro zone bailout fund on Monday, seeking its consent for the early repayment of loans owed to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a Greek finance ministry official said.

The Greek government sent a request to the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) for the repayment of part of its IMF loans, the official said.

Greece, which exited its third international bailout in August, wants to repay about 3.7 billion euros in expensive IMF loans. The ESM would have to be repaid the same amount under the country’s bailout terms but is likely to waive this right.

Greece, the euro zone’s most indebted state with a debt load equivalent to 180 percent of annual output, must repay a total of about 9.3 billion euros of loans to the IMF by 2024.

The IMF loans that Athens wants to repay expire in 2019 and 2020.

Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Jan Harvey and David Evans