December 30, 2018 / 4:23 PM / 6 months ago

UPDATE 1-Egypt expects 5th tranche of IMF loan in January

(Adds details, background)

CAIRO, Dec 30 (Reuters) - Egypt expects to receive the fifth instalment of its $12 billion IMF loan programme in January, the president’s office said on Sunday.

The International Monetary Fund offered the three-year loan programme in 2016 after Egypt agreed to a package of reforms including the devaluation of the pound, cuts to energy subsidies and the introduction of a value-added tax.

The IMF postponed a review of Egypt’s economic reform programme, initially planned for earlier this month, prompting speculation that the fifth tranche of the loan, worth $2 billion, might be delayed.

However, central bank Governor Tarek Amer briefed President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Sunday on the “positive results” of the IMF’s most recent staff team visit to Egypt, Sisi’s office said in a statement.

This included “commendation of the government’s rigorous adherence to the implementation of targeted reform measures according to predetermined timetables, with delivery of the $2 billion fifth tranche of the IMF loan expected in January 2019,” the statement said.

Sisi spoke by phone to IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde about the implementation of the reform programme on Dec. 21, the presidency said at the time.

Many economists have praised Egypt’s economic reforms over the past two years, though austerity measures have caused immediate pain for wide swathes of Egypt’s 98 million population.

Egypt earlier this year approved a mechanism to link domestic fuel prices to those in the international market as it gradually weans the country away from most energy subsidies, but the government has yet to implement it. (Reporting by Aidan Lewis and Patrick Werr; editing by David Stamp and Susan Fenton)

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