Transcript of a Press Briefing with William Murray, Deputy Spokesman, Communications Department

Washington D.C
Thursday, May 28, 2015
Webcast of the press briefing Webcast

MR. MURRAY: Good day. I’m William Murray of the Communication’s Department at the International Monetary Fund. This is, as usual, one of our regular biweekly press briefings from IMF headquarters in Washington. This briefing is embargoed until 10:30 a.m. Washington time. That is 2:30 p.m. GMT.

I’m going to run through some items and then take questions from the journalists here at IMF headquarters, and then from you online. Let me go into some of the upcoming events and management travel. First of all, as I’m sure many of you are aware, Managing Director Christine Lagarde is currently in Dresden, Germany for the G-7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting which is now underway. I don’t have any information on press outreach plans by the Managing Director. Media relations can follow-up with you, and also we have a press officer on the ground in Dresden, but at this point I don’t have any guidance on press plans by Ms. Lagarde. She was, as you know, she did an interview overnight with German TV ARD which was broadcast.

Now, let me also note that on Monday, June 1, Managing Director Lagarde will be back here at IMF headquarters to open a high-level conference on Latin American entitled “Rising Challenges to Growth and Stability in a Shifting Global Environment”. Brazil’s Finance Minister Levy and U.S. Treasury Under Secretary Sheets are among the officials participating in this conference and in panel discussions. This event is part of our Road to Lima plan and events. It’s also a follow-up to a conference we held in Santiago, Chile back in December. The conference itself is webcast live in both English and Spanish, and is, of course, open to the press. A detailed agenda for those of you who have not seen it is currently available on our main website,

On next Thursday, June 4, Managing Director Lagarde along with Western Hemisphere Director Alejandro Werner, and the U.S. mission team will hold a press conference here at IMF headquarters on the conclusion of the 2015 U.S. Article IV Staff Consultations. I expect the concluding mission statement, which will also include preliminary conclusions on the latest Financial Sector Assessment Program for the United States, will be available to the press under embargo. Media relations will be sending out a detailed advisory to print and broadcast journalists.

In the context of Article IVs, let me just briefly mention we’ve entered the high season here for annual Article IV consultations in systemic countries. Besides the U.S., the Euro Area Article IV mission is currently ongoing, and the concluding staff statement is expected to be presented in mid-June. The Saudi Arabia Article IV mission is also underway at this time, and a concluding statement possibly could be issued sometime within the next week.

As many of you may know, we recently got Article IV missions of China, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan. These countries, along with the United States, the Euro Area, etcetera, will be discussed in detail by our executive board during June and July and will be followed by the publication of the annual External Sector Report by the Fund. Media relations will keep you informed on specific timing and details of the publication of Staff Reports and related documentation.

Back to management travel and events. Meanwhile, on June 8, First Deputy Managing Director David Lipton will present findings of an important staff discussion note entitled “Issues in Managing Water Challenges and Policy Instruments”. This discussion note examines the role of economic policy instruments and institutions in the context of managing water challenges, and provides key policy relevant findings including details of case studies that were conducted by IMF staff into countries that have been able to overcome water challenges thanks to sounds policies and institutions. Mr. Lipton will unveil this paper at a panel discussion scheduled for the World Resources Institute here in Washington on June 8. Press will receive the note and analysis under embargo.

Deputy Managing Director Mitsuhiro Furusawa will travel to Asia, starting with Korea, where he participates in a Bank of Korea conference on June 8. He’ll then travel to Vietnam toward the end of the week of June 8, and then Indonesia for meetings with the authorities during June 15 and 16.

Marking your calendars, next week, Wednesday June 3 is when the executive board takes up the IMF’s six month work program. Media relations will be sending out an advisory in terms of the actual publication of the work program which would follow at some point. Lastly, again to mark in your calendars, the next com briefing is planned for here on June 11.

So with that let me turn to the room and take some questions, and I know I have a number of questions online that I’d like to get to as well.

QUESTIONER: Thank you. What is the status of the current negotiations about an agreement [on Greece] taking place at the Brussels Group? Could you please advise us whether it is for the current review alone or is it also about a possible third program? And what would the role of the IMF be in such a program?

MR. MURRAY: Okay. I think it’s way too early to talk about third programs. We’re focused, as you all know, on concluding the current review. Let me repeat what you’ve probably heard from the Managing Director in the last few days. Talks are continuing with the Greeks, but work still needs to be done. I’m not going to speculate on the timing of any agreement on this ongoing work, but it is intense and we do work to reach an agreement as soon as possible.

A couple other points I want to make relative to Greece today is that the Fund is certainly flexible and open to alternatives, but I have to remind you that what we aim for is the full recovery of the Greek economy so that the country does not find itself in a difficult financial situation again. That’s the goal. The other key point to keep in mind is that the program has to add up, everything has to add up for it to work effectively.

Lastly, and I think this is another point we’ve made a number of times, is that we would need agreement with the Greek authorities and the European partners on a comprehensive set of policies that could help achieve these program goals of stability and growth. We cannot conclude the review based on a few measures. It needs to be comprehensive, and as I mentioned, it needs to add up. Follow-up question?

QUESTIONER: Has Greece requested the bundling of the four upcoming payments into one? What’s the IMF’s position on that? Who makes such a decision, the MD or the board, and is this something common? Has it happened before?

MR. MURRAY: Thanks for those questions. The short answer is, no, there’s been no request for this bundling which has gotten attention in the media, I think, in the past week. Not specific to Greece, because there has been no request for bundling, but a country, just for background here, for your guidance, countries do have the options of bundling when they have a series of payments in a given month. They have the option of bundling, making a single payment at the end of that month. This is a policy that was adopted back in the 1970s. It is rarely used. I’m only aware of one case and it was back in the mid-80s in which a country bundled payments to the Fund.

QUESTIONER: Do you know which country?

MR. MURRAY: Yes. My understanding is that it was Zambia.

QUESTIONER: And who makes such a decision?

MR. MURRAY: It’s a request by the authorities. It’s a notification by the authorities that they’re going to bundle. This policy was adopted by the Executive Board, so if a country says, you know, we have four payments due in the month of June, we’re going to make a payment on June 30, single payment on June 30. They’re quite entitled to do it if they want.

QUESTIONER: The Greek authorities have threatened not to pay the IMF for the next three payments. Are you confident that they will repay the IMF, and what can happen if they don’t? Can Greece be eventually excluded from the IMF, is it something that belong to the range of options?

MR. MURRAY: Thanks. To say they’ve threatened, that characterization isn’t the case. Our understanding, and Mr. Varoufakis and others have stated that, is that they intend to pay the Fund. So as we stand here right now we expect the Greek authorities will pay us.

QUESTIONER: And what can happen if they don’t?

MR. MURRAY: For any country that doesn’t meet its commitments to the Fund there’s a process, a very long process over time, but initially the process is they’re declared in arrears and they have no access to IMF financing.

QUESTIONER: So could you walk us through that mechanics? The first payment, when exactly is it due, like what date and what time? And how quickly will the IMF, you know, send a cable to Greece saying you missed this payment?

MR. MURRAY: I don’t have that granularity in terms of do we send a cable or anything like that. I mean, I think the policy in 1970 on bundling was a result -- Telex was widely in use back in the 70s, but I’m not sure about cables right now. It’s basically at close of business on the date of the payment that’s due a country would be declared in arrears.

QUESTIONER: Close of business in Greece or here?

MR. MURRAY: Here. Yeah, it’d be, you know, midnight. It’s not that hard and fast, but it’s -- we give them a day, you know, the day that it’s due.

QUESTIONER: I mean, you just said that they couldn’t have access to IMF financing there if they missed a payment. This is --

MR. MURRAY: If a country, I’m not being predictive here by any stretch on any country right now, but if a country fails to meet its financial commitment to the Fund, which is a repayment of what’s due, it is declared in arrears and under our policy it no longer has access until it makes good on those arrears. It no longer has access to fresh financing.

Now, you’ve got to remember the Fund is a fund of 188 countries. It’s our fiduciary responsibility. We’re the custodians of the resources of 188 countries that we recycle, we lend to other countries. So that’s why it’s important for countries to repay the Fund because they’re borrowing from 187 other countries. I’m going to move on from this pretty soon. I don’t have too much more to say, but let me go to somebody fresh and then we’ll go ahead.

QUESTIONER: Last time we asked Gerry [Rice, Director of Communications] about this he said that IMF didn’t have a good sense of how much money Greece has, because they hadn’t had technical discussions. Now that technical discussions have been happening for a while, I was wondering if you could provide a more detailed assessment of what’s the situation? I know it’s difficult because of the local -- some local cities have money.

MR. MURRAY: You want me to give you a figure on how much money Greece has?

QUESTIONER: Well, what is the IMF’s assessment?

MR. MURRAY: Yeah, I don’t have –

QUESTIONER: I’m sure there’s something that you’re working with.

MR. MURRAY: -- I don’t have it.

QUESTIONER: And then a second question which is Mr. [Olivier] Blanchard [IMF chief economist] spoke about the IMF’s analysis of Greek exit from the euro zone in an interview, and I was wondering if you could give some more details about that? And he basically said that it wouldn’t be catastrophic for the euro zone if Greece left. Thank you.

MR. MURRAY: Okay. First question in terms of Greek liquidity. I don’t have any fresh details on that. Like I said, there are intensive discussions underway in Brussels, that’s where the discussions are underway. Stay tuned on that. Once we have that kind of information, happy to share. We do publish quite a bit on Greece, but I don’t have anything to share with you on Greece government liquidity at the moment.

Okay. In terms of Olivier’s reported remarks I don’t have any reason to quibble with those reported remarks at all, and I can repeat that they’re basically in line with what we have been saying which is regarding the implications. Number one, let me remind everybody that Greece’s exit from the euro zone is not our current baseline. Our baseline remains, and the whole point of economic policy discussion, is the goal of continuing Greece’s active involvement in the euro zone.

But we have explained before, and again, it’s in line with what Olivier is reported to have said, that we do not expect a Grexit to happen given the Greek government has made clear that it wants to stay in the euro zone, and will take the necessary actions to prevent exit. Again, that’s our baseline. However, we do, and we’ve said, that we think that the toll on the Greek economy would be very high if it were to exit. As to the euro area, it could, obviously, have an adverse effect on confidence. The risk should not be underestimated, but the immediate risk of contagion to the euro area will, in the end, depend -- and this is a key point -- will in the end depend on the response by the European policy makers. And I think Olivier's remarks were in that context.

QUESTIONER: The first question I have is that the Greek government knows that someday we're going to have an agreement. And I really need your comment. Do you think that in two or three days, you are going to have an agreement with Greece. And are we talking about agreement with the three institutions, are we talking about agreement with the Europeans only, are we talking about two agreements -- one with the Europeans and one with the IMF? Can you explain to us what's going on there?

MR. MURRAY: Thanks. Early on I mentioned and explained: we want a comprehensive solution. In terms of timing, I can't go there. I really don't have a sense of when an agreement will be reached, but we have made the point that the quicker everyone reaches an agreement, the better off everyone will be, particularly Greece, because the longer it takes to come to and implement policies, the more costly those policies, the economic costs become much greater, so we want a quick and rapid resolution to the challenge. We also want a comprehensive solution because it's critical for the long run sustainability of economic policy in Greece. Beyond that I really can't give you much insight.

QUESTIONER: I can't wait, and then if you want --

MR. MURRAY: Go; let's get it out of the way and then --

QUESTIONER: You mentioned our friend, your friend, Varoufakis. He spoke today to the Greek Parliament, and I quote,  it's his quote, “the institutions that are characterized by the inability to feel pain while the (inaudible) to the IMF, he said, cold, the Fund has a very dark history which resulted in a lack of credibility in mid-2000. I don't know if you have a comment, but I just read exactly what he said.

MR. MURRAY: Got it, thanks. I'm not familiar with, specifically those remarks, but you know, let me make the point as I said earlier, that we are -- we made it clear to the Greeks and to everyone that we're flexible, that we're open to hearing alternatives and we want a quick and rapid resolution to the situation.

What I'm going to -- I've got a number of questions on Argentina, Egypt, Nepal -- I want to get to those in a second, so let me make this, if I can, the last one on Greece.

QUESTIONER: Can you give us more details about the discussions that the MD is having with Secretary Lew on the phone, the last days on Greece of course, and on the G7 in the last hours?

MR. MURRAY: I don't have a read out on that conversation or any details on conversations. You know Secretary Lew and Managing Director are both in Dresden at the G7 meeting, so, and from what I can tell, Greece is a prominent topic at that meeting in Germany, but beyond that, I don't have anything to offer.

Well, can I take some questions from the screen, and I'll come back to you.

Okay, so let's go with some questions online here and I encourage other journalists to submit questions before we wrap up here. “Did the board, the executive board, take any final decision about Argentinian CPI and GDP statistics? They should have met about the issue around the end of May. Did they meet? Was there a conclusion?” 

The executive board has not met yet on the report that the Managing Director submitted in April to the Executive Board on Argentina's inflation and other statistics. They will meet next week on June 3rd to discuss the Managing Director's report and I expect a press release to be issued following that board meeting. As far as what the report contains, what the outcome of the board meeting will be, I would just recommend you stay tuned with media relations. They will be in touch with you on June 3rd.

I have a question here from El Ahram Hebdo of Egypt. This is from Nevine Kamale. Question is, “how the delay of imposing back taxes and stock market can have a bad influence on social justice and the deficit of the budget. Is this a wrong measure concerning, VAT, is this a wrong measure concerning the reform program and would it be an obstacle to get an IMF loan?”

On the loan aspect, Nevine, we have not had any -- there's no request for a loan, so that's a moot point. But let me give you a line here on our current views on Egypt in the context of implementation of the VAT. I'm going to have to read this. As mentioned in our Article IV Consultation staff report, the Egyptian authorities have an ambitious economic plan to meet the aspirations of the Egyptian people. Steadfast implementation of this plan including the medium term fiscal objectives will be needed. The capital gains tax was one of the measures taken to meet these objectives. In its absence, other tax or spending measures will be needed to meet the same objective. We look forward to further consideration of these issues and discussion of them with the authorities during the upcoming June mission. Just to be clear, next month, in June, an IMF staff mission will visit Cairo and have consultations with the authorities.

Okay, I've got two questions. One is on Yemen. One is on Burundi. And then I'll come back to the room. Okay, we've taken quite a few, so I'll come back to the room after these two questions. “Given the cancellation or postpone of the talks that had been scheduled to begin today, May 28th in Geneva, what is the status of the IMF program and any review of it?” Well, in the context of Yemen and the IMF, the situation is still under review and being closely monitored. We don't have a timeline yet established for any active resumption of discussions over completion of the review of the existing Yemen program. The program is still in place, but I don't -- we're monitoring developments in Yemen. Obviously come back to us as time goes on.

On Burundi, “Given the IMF's previous pre-election program, now that the legislative elections have been postponed, and many regional organizations are calling for a longer postponement including of the presidential election, what is the status of the IMF's program, and any review of it?” Well, another situation under review, but let me give you our current view on Burundi.

The background is well known on Burundi and current developments. So we are following those developments in Burundi closely. Regarding the extended credit facility -- that's a facility that has been in place for some time, the program was recently approved. It's fair to say that given current security and political issues, the timing of our next discussion with the authorities is yet to be determined. We shall continue to monitor the situation in Burundi and you know, if possible, we'll determine at a later stage when to set the timing for the seventh review of the extended credit facility.

Okay, so those are some online questions, and please, others, send them in. I may get back to one other question on the pile, but we do have --

QUESTIONER: Something not on Greece.

MR. MURRAY: Something not on Greece. Okay, well, go ahead.

QUESTIONER: Could you tell us when is the Board scheduled to review the reform of its lending facilities, and is it contemplating removing the systemically important exception?

MR. MURRAY: To clarify, we have an ongoing staff analysis underway regarding our sovereign debt regimes, how we deal with sovereign debt, and in the context of exceptional access, so countries that have large access to Fund financing relative to their share that they're quoted in the Fund. We have had a series of papers over the last 18 months. One was the “Creation and Collective Action Clauses” to address some of the issues that surfaces most prominently in the context of Argentina. Those CA's, those Collective Action Clauses, are now being implemented by a number of countries. We're happy to see that happening. So that was a board discussion and a consultation deliberation that was completed last year. The next paper, which will summarize where we stand -- no decision is expected, it will summarize where we stand on other issues regarding how we handle sovereign debt, including the systemic exemption -- is planned for board discussion around mid-June. I'll get back to reconfirm the date. It's tentative. I think June 12th is when we have a Board discussion planned. But again, my expectation is that there will not be a decision with that Board discussion, it will just be status report from staff on their work, their analysis, which includes consultations with civil society organizations, with the financial sector globally.

QUESTIONER: Will staff make a recommendation at this Board meeting?

MR. MURRAY: You'll see some specifics from staff coming out. It will be interesting. You should tune in. Let me go to our newest visitor.

QUESTIONER: My question is about Chinese yuan. I know that the Fund just had a statement saying that Chinese yuan is not undervalued. And what does it mean to the evaluation process of the possible inclusion of the Chinese renminbi in the SDR Basket? And what is the current stage of the evaluation and what will be next?

MR. MURRAY: Thank you very much for that question. I've seen the speculation that somehow our views, our expression of views on the renminbi versus other currencies was expressly tied to the ongoing work on the review of our Special Drawing Right Basket. They're really not connected. What our views, the expression that we made regarding the renminbi last week in the Article IV -- early this week in the Article IV consultation, staff consultation, was really linked to ongoing work and what I mentioned at the top of this briefing which is the external sector report. The external sector report looks at exchange rates and tends to focus actively on our exchange rate assessments in the context of this report, but it is much broader than that. It should also be looked at in the context of where current accounts stand among systemically important countries like China, the United States, Europe, and others in Asia and Africa and Latin America and the Middle East. So this report will be published after the series of systemic Article IV reviews are concluded. So I expect in July -- I don't have a precise date but probably late July there will be the external sector report. You'll see the renminbi analysis in there. I mean it will be repetitive in the context of renminbi, but you'll start seeing in the systemic Article IVs references to exchange rate, but again current account references are there because of the external sector, whether the global economy is in balance or not. And this is the importance of that report. So that was what the reference to the renminbi was really about.

In terms of where we stand on the SDR Basket review, very active analysis underway, active consultations with the Chinese authorities, which have expressed a very strong interest in inclusion in the SDR Basket. This expression of interest is being taken very seriously by the IMF and there is active staff analysis underway that draws on interactions with the Chinese authorities on a fairly regular basis now. That will play out over the course of the year because we have to complete the review by the end of the year. You know, I can't be date specific, but let's figure November, December, you know, the review of the Basket will be completed. Over the course of the year, and I would think in the next few months, you'll see some analysis, initial analysis surfacing from the staff that will be public in some fashion, but we're not there yet. I think that's still a number of weeks or months away. That's sort of where things stand, but there's a whole process underway and China is very actively involved in it.

Follow up? Go ahead, yeah.

QUESTIONER: So it seems there will be a formal review from the Executive Board in October. Is that right or not?

MR. MURRAY: It's possible. You know, because it's a lot of work, it's a lot of technical work, right. You have to make a technical argument for inclusion in the Basket. So there's a lot of work. It's data collection, et cetera, et cetera. So there's an indication that in October is possible, but I don't have a date specific yet. You know, when we get closer to having very specific dates for board discussions, staff reports to the board, we'll let you know. I mean it's not something we're going to sit on.

QUESTIONER: May I follow up on this? When was the last time that the Basket was enlarged?

MR. MURRAY: Good question. I'm going to have to get back to you on the specific -- don't forget, the basket was actually slimmed down the last time because the last action was the euro was created. So you had the Basket at one time included a number of the -- the deutschmark and things of that nature which no longer exist. So really it's been slimmed down rather than expanded. And I think its creation is really the first time the Basket was there.

QUESTIONER: A number of institutions including the Bank of England started to assess the risk proposed by the Brexit, you know, the UK exiting the [European Union]. What's your assessment here at the IMF of this scenario? What risk could it pose to the economic situation in Europe?

MR. MURRAY: Right. Well, I'm not going to be specific beyond what I said earlier, which is, you know, it's something that bears watching, but our current baseline is that Greece remains in the euro zone.

QUESTIONER: Greece, but at -- Brexit.

MR. MURRAY: Oh, Brexit. Excuse me. I apologize. I got Greece on my brain. Brexit. As far as Brexit goes, I don't have nothing -- Britain's exit from the euro zone, I have nothing for you on that. I have absolutely zero guidance, sorry. I apologize for the -- my hearing is going.

QUESTIONER: The IMF mission is in Kiev now for its next review of the program.

MR. MURRAY: Correct.

QUESTIONER: Just wondering when that will conclude. And also Ukraine's Finance Minister said this week that achieving a restructuring deal is not a benchmark target required under the next IMF review even though the IMF has said it is essential. So I was wondering if you could clarify that? Thank you.

MR. MURRAY: Repeat this again?

QUESTIONER: The Ukraine's Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko said achieving a restructuring deal is not a benchmark target under the next IMF review.

MR. MURRAY: I don't have any specific on that remark other than note you're correct there is a mission on the ground in Kiev. We expect it to wrap up shortly.

QUESTIONER: You don't have a specific --

MR. MURRAY: You know, in days, not hours, but days. And there will be a press release and all that kind of stuff, so it's no surprises on that. On debt, let me just repeat what we've said all along, there's no change, it's vital that Ukraine and its creditors reach an agreement in line with the objectives stated in the Memorandum that was signed.

QUESTIONER: So is it a benchmark target under the next review?

MR. MURRAY: Like I said it's vital for Ukraine and its creditors reach an agreement. We want and expect that outcome.

QUESTIONER: Bill, a follow up on the Ukraine. A former president of Ukraine, Mr. Yushchenko, said the other day that the world has started treating Ukraine like a bothersome fly, that the world is getting tired of Ukraine. I'm sure he is making a dramatic emphasis there, but what is the level of concern on this situation in Ukraine? And as the deadlines approach obviously is your concern growing, is it the same? How is it changing?

MR. MURRAY: I'm not commenting on this reputed remark. We're actively engaged with Ukraine. We're concerned about all our member countries and Ukraine is among them. But I'm not implying any elevated level of concern. It's important to come to necessary agreements so that we can move forward.

QUESTIONER: Bill, do you have anything, we forgot Cyprus. Do you have anything with Cyprus because I think you have a success story there? And also I see a report now saying that the IMF is threatening to leave the Troika of institutions if there is no mention in your agreement of restructuring of Greek debt. Can you tell us your position on the restructuring of the Greek debt?

MR. MURRAY: On Cyprus, I don’t have anything immediate for, well I'll take it back there, I don’t any guidance on Cyprus. Of course, Cyprus is doing well and we are very happy about that.

QUESTIONER: But how are you (inaudible) going to give us later?

MR. MURRAY: Yeah. Let's – the press office will come back to you.

QUESTIONER: And then the restructuring stories, I'd like to hear your --

MR. MURRAY: You know, there are a lot of stories floating around that I'm not going to feed, and that’s one of them.

QUESTIONER: I'm not asking about a story, I’m asking about your position on the restructuring of Greek debt if it's possible.

MR. MURRAY: We haven't done debt sustainability analysis yet, but there's a debt framework in place, and we expect it to remain in place, full stop. What levels of debt, and when we get there, that’s going to be subject to the next debt sustainability analysis, but that’s where we stand.

I'm going to take one more question from the screen, and I think we've got a -- I'm going to come back to you.

QUESTIONER: I just wanted to follow up on what my colleague was saying. You talk about flexibility with Greece, there's debt repayments coming up in June, so that’s not flexible, so just in the broad sense, what is flexible?

MR. MURRAY: Sure. Now I don’t understand your question. I mean, look at the program, based on economic targets, and goals. Now the main goal doesn’t change, that’s sort of inflexible, restoring Greece to sustainability. That’s inflexible. We want to see Greece return to economic sustainability.

So to get there, there's various ways you can get there. Situations evolve, and that’s what we look at, but, it's the Greek authorities putting proposal on the table, and making sure they add up. Add to the ultimate goal, which is sustainability, that’s it.


MR. MURRAY: So I -- you know, I -- Go ahead and ask, and then I'm going to take a questions online. Okay.

QUESTIONER: Thank you. Would you be willing to reexamine the goal of debt to GDP ratio?

MR. MURRAY: You know, I'm not going to get into the specifics on debt levels and things of that nature, we have to do further analysis on that before we are even going to touch that one. But, you know, I'll keep coming back to it.

This is a question on Nepal. "The IMF has been speaking of assessment, but what developments have there been in the IMF identifying facilities or programs to be used in the country, post-earthquake, including any debt relief?"

Thanks for this question. Just to give you a quick status report on Nepal, we had a mission on the ground, they’ve done an initial assessment, it's not final yet, they will be going back to Kathmandu to complete some analytics, because there was another very, very severe earthquake. There is a plan for a donor's meeting in late June, June 25th, I believe. A lot of that analysis, which we are also doing on the macroeconomic front with The World Bank and other multilateral institutions, will all feed into the June 25th Donors Conference. At which point I would expect a very active strategy for Nepal to surface.

Right off the top, you know, we have a rapid credit facility that Nepal could certainly have access to, which is one option. In terms of debt relief, that is pending further analysis. As you know we've had some reforms in our credit facilities that have certain conditions attached, to how a country can qualify for debt relief. It's unclear at this juncture whether Nepal does or not, but certainly it's under review.

With that, I think we are bumping up against the 10:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. GMT embargo lifting. So thank you again for joining us. If you have any follow-up questions, please contact Media Relations. And look forward to seeing you again on June 11th. Thanks.


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