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Serbia eyes new IMF stand by loan

BELGRADE, Apr 11 – Serbia\’s central bank chief Dejan Soskic said Monday that Belgrade is hoping to conclude a new deal for a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) this year, Tanjug news agency reported.

Soskic told local media that Serbia would make a deal for a two-year stand-by loan whose funds would only be used in case of unforeseen trouble in the financial markets.

"I would not be surprised if in mid-2011 Serbia already has such a deal," Soskic said.

"It would allow Serbia to undertake (…) structural reforms which must not be delayed," he stressed.

Belgrade has not yet decided on the value of the possible loan, according to Soskic.

In May 2009 the IMF and Serbia agreed on a almost 3-billion-euro ($4.3 billion) stand-by loan which ends in April this year.

The central bank said in a statement that for the last installment of the loan, approved last week, Serbia plans to withdraw only 51.7 million of the 353.5 million euros available on the loan.

In total Belgrade has used only 1.5 billion euros of the stand-by loan, half the available funds.

According to the IMF Serbia\’s gross domestic product GDP growth stood at 1.8 percent in 2010 and is expected to be 3 percent this year. Inflation last year was 10.3 percent according to the statistics bureau here.

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