IMF could give Ukraine 14-billion-dollar emergency loan - prime minister
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) could soon give Ukraine an emergency loan worth as much as 14 billion dollars, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said Thursday.
The stabilization credit for the former Soviet republic was already under active consideration by IMF leadership, and would be aimed at calming Ukraine's currently woeful stock and commodities markets, reproted dpa.
"We have information from the IMF ... that they are prepared to provide the money," Tymoshenko said at a press conference in Kiev.
The loan, if given, would be a massive cash infusion for Ukraine, whose national state budget last year was some 45 billion dollars.
Ukraine's ongoing political crisis with early elections scheduled for December was however making talks with the IMF and obtaining the badly-needed cash infusion "quite difficult," she added.
An IMF spokesman declined to comment on Tymoshenko's statements regarding the fund's plans regarding Ukraine.
The country's once-sunny economy has taken several hits from the international financial crisis, with stocks having lost as much as 30 per cent of value over the last month, the once-solid national currency facing widespread abandonment, and foreign investors deserting the country.
Falling international demand for industrial commodities such as metals, agricultural produce, and chemicals have worsened worries, as Ukraine's economy is dependant on high-volume exports of such goods to sustain growth.
Tymoshenko's government's response to the crisis so far has been monetary, with the National Bank of Ukraine dramatically reducing the money supply via tightened credit and stricter banking law.
The moves so far have failed to stop the rot, forcing the government to shut down the national stock market repeatedly, and even advance hundreds of millions of dollars of float money to embattled banks, to stave off a wider financial collapse.
Tymoshenko opposes early elections called by her opponent President Viktor Yushchenko, as the parliamentary vote is widely expected to return a new legislature relatively hostile to NATO and European integration.
Tymoshenko and Yushchenko both support a pro-West Ukrainian foreign policy, but are at odds over whether the Prime Minister or the President should run Ukraine's executive branch.