The International Monetary Fund and World Bank are discussing possible financing aid for oil exporter Azerbaijan to help it cope with mounting currency and budget pressures from a steep drop in crude prices, the institutions said on Wednesday.
"An IMF team will be in Baku during Jan. 28-Feb. 4 for a fact-finding staff visit at the authorities' request. The team will discuss areas for technical assistance and assess possible financing needs," an IMF spokesman said.
The Financial Times reported that IMF and World Bank officials were discussing a possible $4 billion emergency loan package that could be the first of several bailouts for oil-exporting countries spurred by plunging oil prices. IMF and World Bank spokesmen declined to confirm an amount for a possible package.
"The World Bank and the IMF are in active dialogue with the Government of Azerbaijan, discussing both immediate and longer-term measures in response to the pressure on the local currency and low oil prices," a World Bank spokesman said in a statement. "The World Bank stands ready to provide necessary assistance to Azerbaijan, including budget support."