Almost two weeks of talks in Cairo between the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and high ranking Egyptian officials over the terms of a $4.8bn stand-by arrangement from the fund have ended without a breakthrough. But the IMF mission chief for Egypt, Andreas Bauer, announced on 15 April that “the mission made progress in the discussions with the authorities on their economic program and possible financial support from the IMF.”

Mr Bauer noted that “the authorities have already taken valuable first steps to improve the targeting of energy subsidies and are seeking to broaden their revenue base. They intend to build on these steps with further actions to address in a socially balanced way the country’s fiscal and balance of payments deficits, and create conditions for a sustained recovery of the economy.” Mr Bauer added that his mission was encouraged by the constructive positions and views expressed by Egypt’s representatives. But all sides agreed that it was necessary to protect vulnerable sectors of society when implementing the reforms. He also stated that discussions with Egypt will continue with the objective of reaching agreement on a possible stand-by arrangement to support Egypt. (CONTINUED - 775 WORDS)