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Egypt asks IMF for $3.2 bln in support

CAIRO - Egypt has asked the International Monetary Fund for $3.2 billion in support, a government minister said on Monday, as the country's interim cabinet seeks to fill a budget gap pushed wider by almost a year of political and economic turmoil.
The previous army-backed government turned down an offer of $3 billion in financial assistance from the IMF last June but since then the country's funding problems have worsened and its currency has come under heavy pressure.
"We have asked the IMF for $3.2 billion in support," Planning and International Cooperation Minister Faiza Abu el-Naga told reporters at the start of talks with fund officials visiting Cairo.
She said an IMF delegation would return to Egypt in late January. IMF regional director Masood Ahmed said many technical details of an agreement must still be resolved and this week's visit was to "hear and understand the Egyptian situation".
Foreign financial investors have given Egypt a wide berth since street protests erupted a year ago, forcing the government to rely on local banks for funds, a situation that has forced up yields on treasury bills and bonds to levels that some economists say are unsustainable.
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