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IMF Approves Major Loan To Armenia

IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn
YEREVAN -- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has officially approved a $540 million loan to Armenia, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

The IMF will disburse $237 million of the loan immediately, with the remainder being transferred in nine installments subject to reviews.

IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn announced the package on March 3 after the Armenian government and the Central Bank allowed the country's currency, the dram, to be devalued by 20 percent.

The IMF said Armenian officials will cut back on nonpriority spending, increase social spending by 0.3 percent of GDP, and enhance bank supervision.

The loan is repayable in 28 months.

The IMF anticipates the Armenian economy will contract by 1.5 percent in 2009 after more than a decade of robust growth.