The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Board of Directors released on December 15 a loan of US$217 million to Kazakhstan, the first tranche of a US$433 million extended fund facility (EFF). This EFF had been approved earlier as a precautionary facility which could be drawn down at Kazakhstan’s request, subject to IMF approval. In granting that approval, the board expressed satisfaction with the Kazakh government’s macroeconomic policies and its response to the international financial crisis. Policies in place and those envisaged for 1999 provide a basis for resuming economic growth and sustaining it over the medium-term, the IMF board noted.
The loan’s primary destination is to replenish Kazakhstan’s hard currency reserves, depleted by the declining export prices (Dow Jones Newswires, December 15). The slump in oil export revenue has hit Kazakhstan particularly hard. Foreign Minister Kasymzhomart Tokaev announced last week in Washington that Kazakhstan may be forced to sell the government-owned shares in the oil extraction and processing industry if the financial crisis continues next year.
IRAN BECOMES A PLAYER IN TAJIKISTAN.