IMF approves 28 bn US dollar loan to Greece

1. International Monetary Fund (IMF) spokesperson Gerry Rice walks to microphone
2. SOUNDBITE: (English) Gerry Rice, IMF spokesman:
“Good morning everyone, I would like to make a very short statement on Greece on behalf of the IMF. This morning the IMF’s Executive Board approved continued support for Greece’s ambitious economic programme. The Board agreed new financing of 28 (b) billion euros, over the next four years. This financing is part of the overall package of support from the IMF and Greece’s European partners. The Board stressed that Greece’s continued reform efforts to improve competitiveness and restore economic growth will be key in overcoming the crisis. Thank you very much.”
3. Pan as Rice walks back into IMF building
The International Monetary Fund on Thursday approved 28 (b) billion euros (36.56 (b) billion US dollars) in funding for crisis-hit Greece over the next four years, while Standard and Poor’s raised its rating on the country’s new bonds.
An IMF’s executive board granted the immediate release of 1.65 (b) billion euros (2.15 (b) billion US dollars) of these funds as part of the country’s second bailout, a statement said.
Greece will receive a total 172.7 (b) billion euros in rescue loans from its eurozone partners and the IMF to keep it afloat in the next few years, as dizzily high borrowing rates have blocked its ability to raise money on the international bond markets.
IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said “continued reform efforts to improve competitiveness and restore economic growth will be key in overcoming the crisis.”
The new bailout cash was approved after Greece secured a massive debt-reduction deal with banks and other private bond holders, swapping old government bonds for new ones that have better repayment terms.
The ratings agency Standard and Poor’s raised its rating on the new bonds to CCC but kept said Greece’s sovereign rating would remain in selective default until the exchange was completed next month.
The country has survived since May 2010 on a first rescue loan package worth a total 110 (b) billion euros (143.63 (b) billion US dollars).
In return for both bailouts, Athens has imposed harsh cost-cutting measures, slashing pensions and salaries while repeatedly increasing taxes, while the country’s main political parties have promised to honour commitments after elections expected in late April or early May.

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