Thursday 2 July 2009

CORRECT: IMF Praises Serbia's Response To Econ Crisis

CORRECT: IMF Praises Serbia's Response To Econ Crisis

("IMF Praises Serbia's Response To Econ Crisis," at 1408 GMT, misstated the day the comments were made in the first paragraph. The correct version follows:)

BELGRADE (AFP)--The International Monetary Fund Thursday praised Serbia's response to the global economic crisis, saying early action stabilized its currency and financial system as well as boosted confidence.

"I think we have very good results on this program that the government has implemented since the crisis started. The government has been very proactive," IMF Deputy Managing Director Murillo Portugal told reporters in Belgrade.

Serbia is one of several countries to have turned to the IMF for financial aid from central and eastern Europe, one of the regions hardest hit by the global recession.

Earlier this year, it secured an IMF standby loan worth EUR3 billion with stringent conditions to reduce public spending.

"The results have been positive in general - the exchange rate is stable, the financial system is stable, confidence has returned," said Portugal, in the Balkan country to mark the 100th anniversary of its central bank.

The IMF deputy cautioned that "on the real economy, we are facing a much tougher environment than we had thought initially when the program was established.

"But I am confident that the situation is going to develop favorably," he added.

An IMF mission is scheduled to visit Serbia in August for status talks on the standby loan following concerns the country was at risk of breaching the agreed budget deficit of 3% of gross domestic product.

"It's too early to respond to the question whether the IMF is going to accept a higher fiscal deficit or not," Portugal said in answer to a reporter.

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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 02, 2009 10:27 ET (14:27 GMT)

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