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NAIROBI, Sept 14, 2018 (News Wires) - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) considers that Kenya’s external position is strong, its representative in Nairobi said on Friday, adding that the Fund would continue to support its reform efforts even though a stand-by loan deal has expired.

Kenya had secured a six-month extension in March of the $989.8 million arrangement. However, the IMF set conditions for a further extension, including the repeal of a cap on commercial lending interest rates which was imposed in 2016, a move that parliament rejected in a finance bill last month.

President Uhuru Kenyatta sent the bill back to parliament on Thursday night, but what happens next regarding the rate cap is not yet clear.

IMF representative Jan Mikkelsen confirmed what the government said on Thursday: that the deal was over.

“The second review of the IMF-supported program has not been completed, and the program will expire today,” he told Reuters. “It should be stressed that Kenya’s external position remains strong and foreign exchange reserves are at a very comfortable level.”

Foreign exchange reserves stood at $8.56 billion at the end of last week, equivalent to 5.71 months’ worth of Kenyan imports, central bank data showed. The bank is required by law to hold reserves worth a minimum of four months of import cover.

The central bank expected the current account deficit to shrink to 5.4 percent of gross domestic product at the end of this year, from 5.8 percent in June, Governor Patrick Njoroge said in July.

 

MILAN, Sept 7, 2018 (News Wires) - Europe's San Marino is considering asking the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a loan of up to 300 million euros ($350 million) to shore up its banks, which are crippled by bad debts, two sources said.

The nation of 34,000 people landlocked inside Italy has yet to recover from a deep recession caused by the global financial crisis a decade ago and its banks are swamped with bad debts of 1.7 billion euros, 117 percent of the former tax haven's 2017 gross domestic product (GDP) of 1.45 billion euros.

Although San Marino is less than 15 km (9 miles) across, it still has six banks, a legacy of its days as a discreet place where foreigners, especially Italians, parked their savings.

San Marino's central bank estimates that 37 percent of the nation's problem loans are in its worst category of bad debts.

In addition to moving toward a loan request to the Washington-based IMF, the republic is preparing to cut public-sector salaries and reform the pension system.

"No formal letter has gone to the IMF but there has been a dialogue with Washington institutions for more than a year on the need to stabilise the situation," one source said.

"By the end of this year the request for help should be finalised, or the assistance programme may even have been activated by then," the source added.

A second source confirmed the government was moving towards a formal request, but said nothing had been decided as yet.

An IMF spokesman said no formal request for financial assistance had been received from San Marino authorities, but the fund was advising them on how to stabilise the economy.

SHARM EL SHEIKH, Egypt, Aug 5, 2018 (MENA) - Annual meetings of the African Caucus for the World Bank (WB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) kicked off on Sunday in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh under the patronage of Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouli.

The two-day meetings, organised by the Ministry of Investment and International Co-operation and the Ministry of Finance in collaboration with the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), are attended by representatives from 40 countries from inside and outside the African continent.

Minister of Investment and International Co-operation Sahar Nasr and Finance Minister Mohamed Maeit will chair the annual meetings of the African Group, in the presence of representatives of the major international institutions, the Investment Ministry said in a statement on Friday.

The investment minister said Egypt's hosting of these meetings comes within the framework of President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s directives to support issues related to the African continent at all international gatherings.

She further asserted that Egypt will exert utmost efforts to back interests and priorities of the African development plan during her chairmanship of the African Caucus for 2018, the statement added.

For his part, the finance minister said that hosting the international event reflects the deeply-rooted ties between Egypt and its fellow African countries.

The Egyptian-African relations have witnessed unprecedented development over the past few years, mainly after Egypt’s membership in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), he added.

He asserted Egypt’s keenness on engaging in the development efforts of the African continent and boosting economic ties with African countries.

The list of attendees at the annual meetings includes First Vice-President of the World Bank Mahmoud Mohie Eddin, Vice-President of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) for the Middle East and Africa Sergio Pimenta and Chief Executive Officer of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) Keiko Honda.

CAIRO, August 3, 2018 (MENA) - Egypt is set to host the annual meetings of the African Caucus of the World Bank (WB) Group and International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Sunday and Monday, under the patronage of Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouli.

The meetings will be held in the Egyptian Red Sea resort city of Sharm el Sheikh, with 40 countries participating.

The meetings are organized by the investment and international cooperation and finance ministries, in cooperation with the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE).

Ministers of Investment and International Cooperation and Finance, Sahar Nasr, Mohamed Maeit respectively will chair the annual meetings of the African Group, in the presence of representatives of the major international institutions, the Investment Ministry said in a statement on Friday.

The meetings will bring together a number of African international cooperation and finance, as well as governors of central banks along with high level officials from the WB and the IMF, the statement said.

WASHINGTON, July 31, 2018 (News Wires) - US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned on Monday that any potential International Monetary Fund bailout for Pakistan's new government should not provide funds to pay off Chinese lenders.

In an interview with CNBC television, Pompeo said the United States looked forward to engagement with the government of Pakistan's expected new prime minister, Imran Khan, but said there was "no rationale" for a bailout that pays off Chinese loans to Pakistan.

"Make no mistake. We will be watching what the IMF does," Pompeo said. "There's no rationale for IMF tax dollars, and associated with that American dollars that are part of the IMF funding, for those to go to bail out Chinese bondholders or China itself," Pompeo said.

The Financial Times reported on Sunday that senior Pakistani finance officials were drawing up options for Khan to seek an IMF bailout of up to $12 billion.

An IMF spokeswoman said: "We can confirm that we have so far not received a request for a Fund arrangement from Pakistan and that we have not had discussions with the authorities about any possible intentions."

Speaking in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the IMF has its own standards and operating rules when cooperating with relevant countries.

"I believe they will handle it appropriately," he told reporters, without elaborating.

Pakistan is struggling to avert a currency crisis that has presented the new government with its biggest challenge. Many analysts and business leaders expect that another IMF bailout, the second in five years, will be needed to plug an external financing gap.

Pakistan, which already has around $5 billion in loans from China and its banks to fund major infrastructure projects, had sought another $1 billion in loans to stabilise its plummeting foreign currency reserves.

Officials in the Trump administration, including US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, have criticised China's infrastructure lending to developing countries, arguing that this has saddled them with unsustainable debt.

The $57 China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a series of port and rail improvements associated with China's One Belt One Road infrastructure push, has led to massive imports of Chinese equipment and materials, swelling Pakistan's current account deficit.

Pakistan has had 14 IMF financing programmes since 1980, according to fund data, including a $6.7 billion three-year loan programme in 2013.

BUENOS AIRES, July 21, 2018 (News Wires) -The International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned world economic leaders on Saturday that a recent wave of trade tariffs would significantly harm global growth, a day after US President Donald Trump threatened a major escalation in a dispute with China.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said she would present the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting in Buenos Aires with a report detailing the impacts of the restrictions already announced on global trade.

"It certainly indicates the impact that it could have on GDP (gross domestic product), which in the worst case scenario under current measures...is in the range of 0.5 pct of GDP on a global basis," Lagarde said at a joint news conference with Argentine Treasury Minister Nicolas Dujovne.

Her warning came shortly after the top US economic official, Treasury Minister Steven Mnuchin, told reporters in the Argentine capital there was no "macroeconomic" effect yet on the world's largest economy.

Long-simmering trade tensions have burst into the open in recent months, with the United States and China - the world's No. 2 economy - slapping tariffs on $34 billion worth of each other's goods so far.

The weekend meeting in Buenos Aires comes amid a dramatic escalation in rhetoric on both sides. Trump on Friday threatened tariffs on all $500 billion of Chinese exports to the United States.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will try to rally G7 allies over the weekend to join it in more aggressive action against China, but they may be reluctant to cooperate because of US tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the European Union and Canada, which prompted retaliatory measures. .

The last G20 finance meeting in Buenos Aires in late March ended with no firm agreement by ministers on trade policy except for a commitment to "further dialogue."

German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said he would use the meeting to advocate for a rules-based trading system, but that expectations were low.

"I don't expect tangible progress to be made at this meeting," Scholz told reporters on the plane to Buenos Aires.

Mnuchin told reporters on Saturday that he has not seen a macroeconomic impact from the US tariffs on steel, aluminum and Chinese goods, along with retaliation from trading partners.

But he said there have been microeconomic effects on individual businesses, he said, adding that the administration was closely monitoring these and looking at ways to help US farmers hurt by retaliatory tariffs.

The US dollar fell the most in three weeks on Friday against a basket of six major currencies after Trump complained again about the greenback's strength and about Federal Reserve interest rate rises, halting a rally that had driven the dollar to its highest level in a year.

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