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IMF reaches preliminary agreement with Georgia to release $30 million

Man walks past the IMF logo at HQ in Washington

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund on Monday said it had reached an agreement with Georgia that will allow for the disbursement of $30 million once it is approved by the global lender's executive board.

IMF staff met with Georgian authorities in Tbilisi from Oct. 26 to Nov. 7 and agreed on policies to complete the first review of Georgia’s Stand-By Arrangement, the IMF said in a statement. The board is expected to review the deal in December.

Georgia has a three-year $289 million stand-by arrangement with the IMF and the $30 million is the first disbursement.

IMF mission chief James John said the Georgian economy had performed strongly in 2022, with Russia's war in Ukraine having less adverse impacts than expected.

Georgia was expected to post growth of 10% in 2022, down slightly from 10.4% in 2021, but well above the 3% rate forecast after the start of the war, he said. Inflation is estimated to reach 10.5% this year, but both growth and inflation were expected to slow in 2023.

John said buoyant tourism revenues, a surge in immigration and financial inflows triggered by the war, and a rise in transit trade through Georgia had boosted economic output and lifted fiscal revenues.

Given high uncertainty including regarding global economic and financial developments, he said Georgian authorities should remain firmly focused on maintaining macroeconomic stability and continuing structural reforms.

“Fiscal policy has been rightly focused on building buffers and managing risks. The authorities are saving part of the revenue windfall and will achieve a significantly lower deficit in 2022 than expected when the SBA was approved in June," John said. Further fiscal adjustments are planned in 2023.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)