IMF board approves lending reforms to better support low-income countries By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) logo is seen outside the headquarters building in Washington, U.S., September 4, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo

By Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The International Monetary Fund on Thursday said it would revamp its concessional lending programs to better support low-income countries during the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery, and raised the prospect of limited sales of IMF gold to boost its lending capability.

The IMF said its executive board last week backed reforms that include raising the access limits for concessional financing for low-income countries by 45%; eliminating access limits for the poorest countries with eligible programs; and maintaing zero-percent interest rates on such loans.

The changes are needed given an eightfold increase in IMF lending to low-income countries to $13.2 billion in 2020, and signs that demand for concessional financing will remain high for several years, the IMF said.

“The two-stage funding strategy that was approved by the IMF Board will secure the resources that we need to really get through this pandemic and its immediate aftermath,” said Christian Mumssen, deputy director of the IMF’s Financial Department, told reporters.

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