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Iceland FinMin turns down rest of Swedish loan

"Should we need [more of the Nordic] loan in the future, there would be no issue getting it," Iceland's finance ministry said.

Sweden hikes economic growth forecast
Iceland's PM to help all those 'drowning in debt'

REYKJAVIK (AFP) - Iceland may not need to take the rest of a massive loan promised by its Nordic neighbours at the height of the country's economic crisis, a government official said Tuesday.

"We are weighing our options and debating whether we really need the loan from the Nordic countries at the moment," an Icelandic finance ministry official told AFP, asking not to be named.

Iceland turned to the International Monetary Fund and its Nordic neighbours, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland, for help after its three largest banks went belly-up in October 2008, sending its economy to the brink of bankruptcy.

It received a promise from the IMF for a 2.1-billion-dollar loan in late 2008 and the other Nordic countries promised to lend it 1.78 billion euros (2.46 billion dollars) in early 2009.

So far, Iceland has received nearly 1.4 billion dollars from the IMF and 300 million euros from its Nordic neighbours.

"Should we need (more of the Nordic) loan in the future, there would be no issue getting it," the finance ministry official said.

Both the IMF loan and the Nordic loan have however until recently at least been threatened by a dispute between Reykjavik and the governments of Britain and the Netherlands over a compensation deal for 320,000 British and Dutch savers who lost money in the collapse of the Icelandic online bank Icesave.

The tiff slowed down payment of the third installment of the IMF loan by several months and prompted Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt to caution in March that further payments from the Nordic coffers would depend on Reykjavik honouring its commitments on Icesave.

No deal has yet been reached, however.

Representatives of the three governments began meeting again last month, six months after more than 93 percent of Icelandic voters shot down the previous attempt at an agreement.

Last Updated (Thursday, 14 October 2010 19:27)

 

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