IMF releases $335 mln to Jordan, says loan program on track

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WASHINGTON, Dec 20 (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund said on Monday its executive board approved a $335.2 million disbursement to Jordan with the completion of a third review of the country's four-year, $1.5 billion loan program.

The IMF said the program remains on track, with continued progress on economic reforms, but fiscal targets have been amended to ensure adequate space for the extension of social protection and job retention programs and priority public investments.

"The gradual reopening of the economy in 2021, underpinned by a robust vaccination campaign and supportive policies, has helped spur a nascent recovery," the IMF board said in a statement. "However, unemployment has remained at high levels, particularly for youth and women."

Higher fuel prices have widened the current account deficit, increasing gross financing requirements for 2021-22, the Fund said.

The IMF said total disbursements to Jordan since the start of 2020 have reached about $1.23 billion, including about $407 million in emergency financing to aid the country's COVID-19 pandemic response, and disbursements under the Extended Fund Facility first approved in March 2020.

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Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Sam Holmes

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