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IMF LOAN AVERTED POSSIBLE BANKRUPTCY AND SOCIAL CRISIS – PM (Hungary)

Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 3, 2008

Budapest, November 1, 2008 – (MTI)

Without the IMF standby loan granted earlier this week, the financial crisis in Hungary could have led to bankruptcy and social crisis, Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany told the Sunday newspaper Vasarnapi Hirek, which made the interview available to MTI on Saturday evening.

The PM was disputing a statement by opposition Fidesz party chief that accessing the line of credit from the International Monetary Fund was “shameful”.

In a worst-case scenario, the forint, Hungary’s currency could have continued sinking to 350/400 to the euro, triggering 20 to 30 percent inflation, he said.

It had dropped from 238/240 to the euro to 280/285 at the time the loan was announced, and firmed to 255/260 in the aftermath.

The other part of the problem, he said, was that Hungary was already having a hard time finding buyers for government securities. If it failed to sell them, all its foreign loans would have had to be paid off within three to six months, leaving the country without the money to pay government employees such as teachers and doctors, or to pay pensions, the PM continued.

“That would have been shameful,” Gyurcsany said.

What we were facing could have evolved into bankruptcy, said the PM, adding that two-thirds of the problem was caused by the international crisis and one-third by domestic shortcomings. As far as the domestic portion is concerned, the government is partly, but not wholly responsible. One concern is that residents have not saved any money since 2000/2001, leading to excessive spending and borrowing. Residents and businesses have done the lion’s share of their borrowing in foreign currencies, he added, which means an enormous foreign debt. In addition, there has been such – opposition initiated – resistance to reforms in the past two years that Hungary was extremely vulnerable, the PM suggested.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy had all played key roles in securing the IMF loan for Hungary, Gyurcsany told Vasarnapi Hirek.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE

PUBLISHED BY ‘MTI HUNGARIAN NEWS AGENCY’ (Hungary)

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