Kosovo, Montenegro next in Balkans mulling IMF help

Kosovo, Montenegro next in Balkans mulling IMF help

Reuters News


By Adam Tanner

VIENNA, Nov 10 (Reuters) – Kosovo and Montenegro, one the Balkans‘ smallest nation geographically, the other smallest in population, are considering asking the IMF for hundreds of millions of euros in loans, officials said on Monday.

The likely requests are the latest sign that the economic crisis continues to have a strong impact in a region which had until recently enjoyed strong economic growth as it emerged from the turmoil of the 1990s.

Kosovo, which has received billions in aid over the past decade, is in informal discussion over a loan of $200 to $300 million, and hopes to conclude a deal by the end of this month, Hashim Rexhepi, the central bank governor, told Reuters at the sidelines of the Vienna Economic Forum.

„It is still in negotiation, it is not finalised, the agreement,“ said Rexhepi, who forecasts four percent economic growth for the landlocked country of 1.8 million this year. „It looks like a short-term facility.“

„I don’t believe it will be more than $200 to $300 million, for liquidity needs.“

An International Monetary Fund team completed a review of the 2010 budget in Kosovo in the end of October and talks continue, Rexhepi said.

Also on Tuesday, the chief economist of Montenegro’s central bank said his country is in informal talks for a 150 to 300 million euro IMF loan…….