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Eastern European nations in new IMF bailout talks

At least 10 eastern European countries are in talks with the International Monetary Fund about multi-billion dollar emergency loans for their ailing economies, German business daily Handelsblatt reported on Friday.

Citing sources close to the IMF, the newspaper reported that a majority of the fund's top brass was supporting the loans given the impact of the financial crisis on those countries.

It named Bulgaria, Croatia and Macedonia as being among those who had asked the IMF for help. Ukraine, Serbia, Romania, Belarus and Latvia were hoping for an earlier payout or increase of already approved funding.

The newspaper said Hungary's government had not yet decided whether it needs additional funds.

“A decision on the requests will be made as soon as possible,” Handelsblatt quoted an unidentified source as saying, adding that a decision on payouts is usually reached within a week after the application.

The news put the euro under pressure on Friday.

“Market players took the report as an excuse to further sell the euro after seeing its sluggishness against the yen this morning. But if asked whether the news was surprising, investors would say no,” said a senior trader at a big Japanese bank.

“Despite its fall, the euro is not expected to slide much further as bids seen lined up below $1.39.” (Reuters)