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Ukraine Says IMF Postpones Fresh Loan To Assess Blockade Targeting Separatists

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Ukraine says the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has postponed a review of the disbursement of a new $1 billion loan following Kyiv's imposition of a trade embargo on areas controlled by Russia-backed separatists in the east of the country.

The Ukrainian Finance Ministry and the Central Bank said on March 19 that the IMF board had postponed "for a short period" the review planned for the following day, saying the impact of the embargo must first be assessed.

"Updated macroeconomic forecasts are to be provided to the IMF," the Central Bank said in a statement.

Reuters cited an IMF e-mail as saying that the board meeting was delayed in order "to allow staff time to assess the implications of recent developments for the program. Staff expect to announce a new date soon."

Kyiv on March 15 announced the suspension of all cargo traffic with separatist-held areas of eastern Ukraine, prompting Russia's warning to cancel the measure to avoid a "humanitarian catastrophe."

The $1 billion loan was to be the next installment of a $17.5 billion IMF package, which has been hit by repeated delays over Kyiv's inconsistent record on reforms.

With reporting by AFP and Reuters
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