IMF approves loan tranche to Greece of 3.24 billion euros

WASHINGTON Wed Jan 16, 2013 6:24pm GMT

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund on Wednesday approved a loan disbursement of 3.24 billion euros (2.7 billion pounds) to Greece after months of uncertainty over the country's painful austerity and reform program.

"The International Monetary Fund today completed the first and second reviews of Greece's economic performance under a program supported by a four-year Extended Fund Facility (EFF) arrangement for Greece," the fund said in a statement.

Greece avoided financial collapse in December after its European backers agreed last month to dole out more financial support and the IMF said it would continue to back Greece as long as it implemented promises under a joint IMF-EU financing package.

The deal averted a catastrophic default by Athens and secured the country's survival in the euro zone after months of doubt and political turmoil. The approval of the latest disbursement to Greece followed a board meeting of IMF member countries in Washington.

(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; editing by Chizu Nomiyama, G Crosse)

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