Ecuador says in talks with IMF over quake reconstruction funds

A flattened car is seen under the debris of a collapsed building, after an earthquake struck off the Pacific coast, in town of Canoa, Ecuador April 18, 2016. REUTERS/Henry Romero

QUITO (Reuters) - Ecuador is negotiating credit lines to finance reconstruction after this month’s devastating earthquake with multilateral agencies that include the International Monetary Fund, a government official said on Thursday.

The Andean nation has already opened an emergency credit with multilateral agencies including the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank for about $600 million, and plans to continue seeking additional financing.

An IMF official on Wednesday said Ecuador had requested a credit line, without offering details.

“The work has been positive, and right now (officials are) in negotiations both the (IMF) and with other multilateral agencies,” said Planning and Development Secretary Sandra Naranjo in an interview. “We have to keep all our options open.”

She did not say which other agencies were involved in financing talks.

Ecuador could receive up to $368 million through an IMF credit line, according to a Reuters calculation based on the rules governing such loans. Disbursements would depend on the country’s balance of payments needs.

President Rafael Correa, a harsh critic of IMF policies, has estimated the quake caused around $3 billion in damages and that the country will need “tens of millions of dollars” for reconstruction in the short term.

That includes rebuilding some 6,600 homes, along with roads, schools and health centers affected by the 7.8 magnitude temblor that killed at least 659 people, according to the latest official estimates.

Reporting by Alexandra Valencia; Editing by Tom Brown