IMF LendingAugust 22, 2011
[Mrt: a detailed description with many side pages, here just overview]
The Extended Credit Facility (ECF) succeeds the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) as the Fund’s main tool for providing medium-term support to LICs with protracted balance of payments problems. Financing under the ECF currently carries a zero interest rate, with a grace period of 5½ years, and a final maturity of 10 years.
The Standby Credit Facility (SCF) provides financial assistance to LICs with short-term balance of payments needs. The SCF replaces the High-Access Component of the Exogenous Shocks Facility (ESF), and can be used in a wide range of circumstances, including on a precautionary basis. Financing under the SCF currently carries a zero interest rate, with a grace period of 4 years, and a final maturity of 8 years.
The Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) provides rapid financial assistance with limited conditionality to LICs facing an urgent balance of payments need. The RCF streamlines the Fund’s emergency assistance for LICs, and can be used flexibly in a wide range of circumstances. Financing under the RCF currently carries a zero interest rate, has a grace period of 5½ years, and a final maturity of 10 years.
Stand-By Arrangements (SBA). The bulk of non-concessional Fund assistance is provided through SBAs. The SBA is designed to help countries address short-term balance of payments problems. Program targets are designed to address these problems and Fund disbursements are made conditional on achieving these targets ('conditionality'). The length of a SBA is typically 12–24 months, and repayment is due within 3¼-5 years of disbursement. SBAs may be provided on a precautionary basis—where countries choose not to draw upon approved amounts but retain the option to do so if conditions deteriorate—both within the normal access limits and in cases of exceptional access. The SBA provides for flexibility with respect to phasing, with front-loaded access where appropriate.
Flexible Credit Line (FCL). The FCL is for countries with very strong fundamentals, policies, and track records of policy implementation and is particularly useful for crisis prevention purposes, although it can also be used for responding to a crisis. FCL arrangements are approved, at the member country’s request, for countries meeting pre-set qualification criteria. The length of the FCL is one or two years (with an interim review of continued qualification after one year) and the repayment period the same as for the SBA. Access is determined on a case-by-case basis, is not subject to the normal access limits, and is available in a single up-front disbursement rather than phased. Disbursements under the FCL are not conditioned on implementation of specific policy understandings as is the case under the SBA. There is flexibility to either draw on the credit line at the time it is approved or treat it as precautionary.
Precautionary Credit Line (PCL). The PCL can only be used for crisis prevention purposes by countries with sound fundamentals and policies, and a track record of implementing such policies. While they may face moderate vulnerabilities that may not meet the FCL qualification standards, they do not require the same large-scale policy adjustments normally associated with traditional SBAs. The PCL combines qualification (similar to the FCL) with focused ex-post conditions that aim at addressing the identified vulnerabilities in the context of semi-annual monitoring. It can have the length of between one and two years. Access can be front-loaded, with up to 500 percent of quota made available on approval and up to a total of 1000 percent of quota after 12 months subject to satisfactory progress in reducing vulnerabilities. While there may be no actual balance of payments need at the time of approval, the PCL can be drawn upon should such a need arise unexpectedly.
Extended Fund Facility (EFF). This facility was established in 1974 to help countries address longer-term balance of payments problems reflecting extensive distortions that require fundamental economic reforms. Arrangements under the EFF are thus longer than SBAs—usually 3 years. Repayment is due within 4½–10 years from the date of disbursement.
Emergency assistance. The IMF provides emergency assistance to countries that have experienced a natural disaster or are emerging from conflict. Emergency loans are subject to the basic rate of charge Loans must be repaid within 3¼–5 years.
[Mrt: there is more on IMF pages, discover]