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Cash-strapped Ukraine expects IMF loan decision by late Jan

KIEV (Reuters) – Ukraine expects the International Monetary Fund to reach a decision on the disbursement of its next multi-billion dollar instalment of financial aid by late January, a senior presidential official said on Wednesday.

Ukraine has so far received two tranches of aid under the IMF programme worth a combined $4.6 billion, under a $17 billion (11 billion) bailout package agreed in April to shore up its foreign currency reserves and support the economy.

The third payment was delayed as the IMF waited for the formation of a new government, which has pledged to carry out the extensive reforms required under the bailout.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Valeriy Chaly said an IMF mission would visit Kiev in early January for the next round of talks on the loan programme, which the country has asked to have increased.

“We expect that all the decisions on macro-financial help will be reached by the last 10 days of January,” Chaly said in a televised briefing.

Ukraine’s foreign currency reserves have more than halved since the start of the year to a 10-year low due to gas debt repayments to Russia and efforts to support its struggling currency, the hryvnia.

Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk said Kiev, facing the additional financial burden of the rebellion in its eastern territories, risks defaulting unless Western donors come up with more funds in addition to what has already been pledged.

First deputy finance minister Ihor Umansky said on Wednesday that it was too soon to talk of restructuring the country’s debt.

“The question of restructuring … is not currently a subject of discussions,” he said at a briefing. “Until the aid package is agreed for Ukraine, it’s too early to discuss this.”

(Reporting by Natalia Zinets and Pavel Polityuk; Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

Politics & GovernmentBudget, Tax & EconomyInternational Monetary FundUkraineforeign currency reserves

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Cash-strapped Ukraine expects IMF loan decision by late Jan

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