IMF delegation resumes talks with Egypt over loan

Monday - 3/18/2013, 1:14am EDT

An Egyptian bread vendor rides his bicycle in downtown Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, March 16, 2013. Owners of state-subsidized bakeries protested Saturday against changes to the distribution system of subsidized wheat. It comes amid economic reforms the government is seeking to implement to boost the economy and ensure subsidized bread reaches millions of poor Egyptians who complain that the bakeries sell the wheat for a profit. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

CAIRO (AP) -- A top International Monetary Fund official has begun several more weeks of talks with Egyptian officials over the country's economic reform program to secure a $4.8 billion loan.

In an IMF statement, top official Masood Ahmed said he welcomes Egyptian determination to move forward with their economic reform program.

The IMF has in the past pushed for reforms in taxation and subsidies before granting loans. Egypt sees the loan as a lifeline to boost critically low foreign reserves and lure back foreign investors.

Ahmed met with officials Sunday in Cairo, including Egypt's prime minister and the central bank governor.

Talks were delayed in December when violent protests erupted and the president was forced to rescind austerity plans. Investors and activists demanded a national dialogue on the changes first.


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