Egypt is in talks with China over a $4bn loan, with $1bn to support foreign reserves and $3bn to be allocated to development projects, International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr says. However, another Egyptian official, Deputy Finance Minister Muhammad Mu’ait, says that discussions with China are for a loan of $2bn only – a confusion that has yet to be clarified.

Egypt needs to raise $5-6bn in bilateral financing before the IMF can approve the $12bn three-year Extended Fund Facility (EFF) agreed in principle last month (MEES, 19 August). The latest remarks confirm IMF spokesman Gerry Rice’s 15 September statement that the IMF had held “very productive discussions with China and Saudi Arabia,” about their contributing bilateral financing for Egypt. Mr Rice added that the IMF expects to meet in “the next few weeks” to finalize the loan. (CONTINUED - 692 WORDS)