A senior IMF official said Friday that Russia should soon meet conditions to win a new installment of an existing IMF loan but said Moscow might be asking for too much with its latest request for help.
IMF First Deputy Managing Director Stanley Fischer told reporters in Sao Paulo that Russia's re-quest for $10 billion or $15 billion under a special short-term IMF funding program might be some-what optimistic."I don't want to speculate on the amount," Fischer said. "Ten to $15 billion is a lot of money, more than the IMF can give to one economy."
But Fischer, who travels to Ukraine and Russia next week, said he expected Russia to soon fulfill the conditions needed to receive a delayed installment of its $9.2 billion Extended Fund Facility, a long-term loan tied to strict reform plans.
"The preconditions attached to the $670 million tranche are expected to be done reasonably soon," he said, noting that this could open the door to talks about a new lending program.
"Direct negotiations (for additional loans) will not be started until this loan is approved. . . . After that there could be negotiations for further larger loans," he said.
The IMF unexpectedly delayed discussions about the release of the $670 million installment on Thursday, saying Russia needed more time to meet promises made when the IMF team reviewed its economic progress.
The decision unsettled markets just as Russia prepared to launch a big new Eurobond. Finance Minister Mikhail Zadornov said on Friday that pricing of the $2.5 billion bond had been adversely affected. Russian shares eased slightly on Friday, and dealers said markets were waiting for clues on when the IMF payments would start again.
The IMF debate about the release of the money is now expected next week, although no precise date has been set. Fischer said he believed Russia had already addressed some of the IMF complaints, although he declined to say which ones.