The IMF will provide USD574 million in loans to Moldova to help one of the poorest countries in Europe cope with the economic crisis. The IMF executive board last week approved two three-year loans totaling USD574.4 million. One loan, designed for IMF members in extreme poverty, is interest-free until the end of 2011. The loans were awarded “to support the country’s economic program aimed at restoring fiscal and external sustainability, preserving financial stability, reducing poverty, and raising growth,” the IMF said. The IMF said USD93.2 million would be immediately available to Moldovan authorities, with the remainder available in installments subject to semiannual reviews. Moldova has been hit hard by the global economic crisis, slashing GDP by nearly eight percent over the first half of 2009, it said. The IMF estimated the economy contracted nine percent for the full year 2009. (AFP)

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