IMF approves emergency loan for Ecuador

Washington (AFP) –


The International Monetary Fund has approved a $643 million emergency loan for Ecuador, as the coronavirus pandemic and low oil prices hit the South American nation.

The Ecuadorian Ministry of Economy and Finance said Friday the five-year loan came with "favorable conditions" at 1.05 percent interest.

The country faces a double crisis in the form of the virus and a fall in oil prices, with the IMF forecasting a drop of 6.3 percent in the country's GDP in 2020.

Ecuador has so far reported more than 25,000 COVID-19 infections and 1,000 deaths linked to the disease.

"This financing will provide the necessary liquidity to support the reactivation of production and the protection of jobs," the ministry said in a statement.

The credit offering joins a three-year economic assistance program signed by Lenin Moreno's government with the international body in 2019.

That $4.2 billion loan involved a raft of cuts and fiscal adjustments that led to a wave of protests in October 2019 when the government raised fuel prices.