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KO15
03-01-2010, 08:30 PM
Iraq faces 2 more years of budget shortfalls -IMF

WASHINGTON, March 1 - Iraq will likely have two more years of budget shortfalls before stronger oil prices and production lift it back into surplus in 2012, the International Monetary Fund said on Monday.

In its regular review of Iraq's economy, the IMF said Iraq's economic growth in 2010 will probably be significantly stronger than it was last year, but the country will still need additional financing to plug a 2010-2011 budget gap estimated at $5 billion.

"Against this background, the authorities have designed an economic program for 2010-11 that aims to maintain macroeconomic stability during the period of political transition and deepen structural reforms, particularly in the areas of public financial management, the financial system, and oil sector transparency" the IMF said.

Iraq is to hold parliamentary elections on March 7.

Last week, the IMF approved a $3.6 billion loan to help Iraq manage its budget hole. [ID:nN24208940]

The IMF estimated growth in 2010 real gross domestic product at 7.3 percent, which would be up sharply from an estimated 4.2 percent in 2009 but still off the 2008 level of 9.5 percent, achieved when oil prices were at record highs.

http://asia.news.yahoo.com/rtrs/20100302/tbs-imf-iraq-955c2a1.html