UPDATE 1-IMF ends week-long mission to Congo Republic without bailout deal

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ABIDJAN, Dec 21 (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) ended a week of negotiations aimed at hammering out a deal to bail out Congo Republic's debt-plagued economy without reaching an agreement on an assistance package, it said in a statement on Thursday.

Like other Central African oil producers, Congo has been hit hard by low crude prices. The IMF said in October that the country's public or publicly guaranteed debt totalled $9.14 billion, or around 110 percent of GDP, by the end of July.

The IMF said it was encouraged by Congo's draft 2018 budget and added that progress had been made in formulating medium-term macroeconomic and structural policies it could support.

However, it said there was still work to be done towards restoring debt sustainability and strengthening governance.

"Once this work is completed, a financial arrangement to support Congos economic program would be discussed at staff level before being proposed for the IMF Executive Board's consideration," said Abdoul Aziz Wane, who headed the mission.

Fitch said in October that the slow pace of the negotiations with the IMF and continuing legal uncertainties were compounding Congo's acute liquidity pressures. (Reporting by Aaron Ross and Joe Bavier; Writing by Joe Bavier; Editing by Alison Williams)