IMF team in Cairo to discuss $3 billion loan program -spokesperson

By David Lawder

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An International Monetary Fund team is currently in Cairo to discuss Egypt’s $3 billion IMF loan and reform program, an IMF spokesperson said on Friday amid discussions about additional funding to ease the country’s Gaza war-related stresses.

The spokesperson said in an emailed statement to Reuters that the team, led by IMF Egypt Mission Chief Vladkova Hollar, would “continue discussions on the first and second reviews of Egypt’s reform program supported by the IMF’s Extended Fund Facility. We will communicate at the end of the visit.”

The IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia director, Jihad Azour, also was in Cairo earlier this week on an annual retreat with the division’s regional offices, and met with Egyptian authorities and regional stakeholders, the spokesperson added.

Egypt has been hit hard by Israel’s war against Hamas in neighboring Gaza, which has hurt tourism bookings and natural gas imports and prompted attacks on Red Sea shipping.

IMF chief spokesperson Julie Kozack told reporters last week that additional financing was “critical” to the success of the Egypt program, but amounts and potential disbursements were under discussion. Also under discussion was the need for tighter fiscal and monetary policy.

(Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Leslie Adler)