Egypt seeks to increase $4.8 billion IMF loan

CAIRO - Egypt is seeking to increase itspreviously-requested $4.8 billion loan from the InternationalMonetary Fund to cover its soaring budget deficit, the planningminister said in comments carried by two local newspapers onSunday.

"Egypt will intensify its efforts in the spring meetings ofthe IMF in the period from April 16-21 to receive additionalfunding to cover the financing deficit until mid-2015," AshrafEl-Araby said in remarks carried by Al Masry Al Youm newspaper.

"There are ongoing discussions to increase the loan,estimated at $4.8 billion but it may rise, especially with theincrease in the budget deficit to $20 billion," he was quoted assaying.

The minister told Al-Mal daily financial newspaper that if adeal with the IMF is not reached before May, talks will bepostponed until October when parliamentary elections areexpected to start. An IMF delegation is currently in Cairo forloan talks.