June 3, 2020 / 6:53 PM / a month ago

IMF chief says some countries may need debt restructuring, not just freeze

(This June 3 story corrects number of countries in final paragraph to 103 from 189)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Some of the world’s poorest countries and emerging market economies may need to restructure their debt in the future, the head of the International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday, adding that simply freezing debt payments might not suffice.

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said some emerging market countries that pursued prudent and sustainable debt policies were weathering the coronavirus crisis better than others, but a small universe of countries with high debt burdens would likely need help going forward.

She said the Fund had disbursed about $260 billion of its $1 trillion in lending power at this point, with emergency financing provided thus far to 63 of 103 countries that had asked for help since early March.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal, Editing by Franklin Paul

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