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IMF hints Pakistan on track for US$550m loan tranche

Pakistan was on track to receive a third loan tranche worth $550 million from the International Monetary Fund this year, the Washington-based lender indicated Sunday, saying the nation's economic recovery was gathering pace.

DUBAI: Pakistan was on track to receive a third loan tranche worth $550 million from the International Monetary Fund this year, the Washington-based lender indicated on Sunday, saying the nation's economic recovery was gathering pace.

The IMF approved a $6.7 billion bailout loan package for Pakistan in September last year to help the struggling nuclear-armed country achieve economic reforms, particularly in its troubled energy sector.

"The IMF... is encouraged by the overall progress made in pushing ahead with policies to strengthen macroeconomic stability and reviving economic growth," IMF's Jeffrey Franks said after talks with Pakistan Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in Dubai.

The IMF said Pakistan's economy was picking up, with growth expected to reach about 3.1 per cent in 2013/14 compared to its earlier estimate of 2.8 per cent.

Cash-strapped Pakistan, plagued by a bloody home-grown Taliban insurgency, is battling to get its shaky economy back on track and solve a chronic energy crisis that cripples industry.

The IMF made an initial payment of $540 million, and in November fund officials said during a monitoring visit that Pakistan was "broadly on track" with reforms.

In December, Pakistan received $554 million as a second tranche of the loan.

Franks said IMF's executive board would tentatively in late March consider whether Pakistan was qualified to receive the third tranche.

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