IMF mission OKs $14.9 bln loan for Ukraine

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission to Ukraine will recommend lending 14.9 billion U.S. dollars in a deal to help fill the country's budget gap and boost investor confidence, Ukrainian media reported on Saturday.

"Our board would review the program at the end of July after Ukraine makes agreed adjustments to its budget and financial sector," the IMF said in a statement quoted by the Interfax- Ukraine news agency.

"If approved, the program would last two and a half years," added the statement.

It came a day after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the United States hoped Ukraine would win the deal.

Ukraine is among the countries hit hardest by the global financial crisis, with its economy shrank 15 percent last year -- the biggest drop since the industrial collapse that followed the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The IMF in autumn 2008 approved the two-year bail-out program for Ukraine. Since then, the Eastern European country has received 11 billion U.S. dollars of a 16.4 billion dollars IMF loan.

The IMF has suspended the rest of the money last year, stressing Ukraine needed to implement economic reforms before IMF would hand over any more.

Cooperation with the IMF has been suspended twice after Ukraine failed to trim government spending, which was one of the key requirements Kiev had to meet if it wanted to receive the aid.

The new government of President Viktor Yanukovych adopted the 2010 budget with a deficit target of 5.3 percent of gross domestic product and has said it would reduce the gap by 1 percentage point a year.

In April the Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Sergiy Tigipko said that Ukraine was hoping to receive from 19 to 20 billion U.S. dollars over two and half years.

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