IMF to loan Mongolia $440 million as part of bailout package

Mongolia reached an initial agreement with the International Monetary Fund for a three-year program that includes a $440 million loan package as part of a $5.5 billion bailout to help the north Asian country with looming debt repayments, reported Bloomberg.

“The Asian Development Bank, the World Bank and bilateral partners including Japan and Korea are expected to provide up to another $3 billion in budget and project support, while the People’s Bank of China is expected to extend its 15 yuan billion ($2.2 billion) swap line with the Bank of Mongolia for at least another three years,” the IMF said in a statement on Sunday. “The total external financing package will thus be around $5.5 billion.”

Economic growth in Mongolia slowed to 1 percent last year as commodity prices fell and growth slowed in China, the main buyer of the nation’s copper and coal exports. The country also saw foreign investment collapse after a dispute with Rio Tinto Plc over the Oyu Tolgoi copper mine.

The Extended Fund Facility (EFF) will support the government’s plan to address balance-of-payment pressures and also help the government repay looming debts, including the Development Bank of Mongolia’s $580 million bond repayment due in March.

This marks the sixth time since 1990 that the IMF has bailed out Mongolia, the most recent a stand-by agreement in 2009-2010, according to an e-mail from IMF spokesman Keiko Utsunomiya.

Mongolia’s central bank had $1.3 billion in foreign reserves at the end of December, well below the $4.1 billion it held at the same time in 2012, when money was pouring into Mongolia’s mining sector amid the commodities boom. The tugrik fell 20 percent last year, fifth-worst among exotic currencies tracked by Bloomberg.

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