July 13, 2020 / 4:12 AM / 23 days ago

Costa Rica to start talks with IMF over loan, says president

SAN JOSE, July 12 (Reuters) - Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado on Sunday said the Central American nation will begin negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to access a financial aid package to help offset the economic blow from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The president did not discuss the size of the package but local media reports, citing central bank sources, said aid to Costa Rica would be about $2.25 billion.

The standby arrangement (SBA) would bring in funds to offset diminishing government revenue as the 2020 deficit looks set to exceed 9.7% of the gross domestic product, the Costa Rican finance ministry said.

“The extreme situation that COVID-19 has generated makes this agreement with the Fund essential to maintain the country’s economic stability in the coming years,” the president said Sunday on national television.

The president said that it is still early to know what Costa Rica’s commitments will be, but that they would include measures to reduce spending, increase revenue and make public management more efficient.

“These details will be discussed not only with the IMF, but also with key political actors such as the Legislative Assembly,” he added.

As of Sunday, Costa Rica had registered 7,596 coronavirus infections and 30 deaths. (Reporting by Alvaro Murillo; Writing by Drazen Jorgic Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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