UPDATE 1-IMF says will approve Greek aid plan soon

(Recasts; adds details)

WASHINGTON, May 2 (BestGrowthStock) – The International Monetary
Fund said on Sunday it was fast-tracking financial aid to
Greece well ahead of a critical May 19 deadline for refinancing
its debt.

The IMF’s chief negotiator on Greece, Poul Thomsen, said
the financial aid numbers for Greece, which will be released
later after a euro-area meeting in Brussels, will be “big,
unprecedented,” but gave no further details.

“The financial numbers … are going to be big, they are
going to be unprecedented,” Thomsen said on a conference call
with reporters.

Thomsen’s briefing came after Greece said it had agreed
with the European Union and IMF on a massive financial bailout
for the debt-stricken country. The IMF should be ready to
release funds from its portion of the aid package “very soon,”
Thomsen said.

May 19 is a critical date for Athens because it must roll
over a large chunk of debt on that day or risk defaulting.

In exchange for a bailout of up to 120 billion euros ($160
billion), the largest assembled for any country, Athens
announced spending cuts and tax increases totaling $30 billion
euros ($40 billion) on top of austerity measures already
announced.

Thomsen described the austerity measures that the Greek
government has said it will put in place — over public
protests — as “credible” and expressed confidence that EU
member countries will also see them that way.

The IMF official said that initial results of stress tests
indicated that Greek banks may need additional capital but said
the banks’ needs were “surprisingly low.”
Investing Basics

(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton, writing by Glenn Somerville,
editing by Maureen Bavdek)

UPDATE 1-IMF says will approve Greek aid plan soon