Jordan agrees $400m loan from IMF

Jordan's budget deficit will widen to 5% this year, but recovery will begin early next year, says central bank governor

FILE - In this March 21, 2020 file photo, the streets of the Jordanian Capital are seen empty after the start of a nationwide curfew, amid concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, in Amman, Jordan.  Nervous travelers, spotty air service, health risks _  the battered global tourism industry is facing unprecedented uncertainty in the wake of the new coronavirus. Millions of workers are laid off or furloughed, and it will likely take years for the industry to get back to the strong demand it was seeing just six months ago. (AP Photo/Raad Adayleh, File)

Jordan has agreed a $400 million (Dh1.47 billion) loan with the International Monetary Fund, according to central bank governor Ziad Fariz, and is talking to other international institutions for extra support amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“The government will have to resort to borrowing and Jordan needs years to address the debt resulting from the crisis,” Mr Fariz said late on Monday. The economy will start to recover at the end of the third quarter of 2020, and is expected to grow again in early 2021, he said.

He forecast that the budget deficit will widen by 1bn Jordanian dinars (Dh5.18bn) in 2020, to 5 per cent of gross domestic product, due to declines in tourism revenues and exports during the health emergency. But he said the slump in oil prices would limit the negative impact on the current-account balance.

Later on Tuesday, the US embassy in Amman announced assistance agreements worth $340m with Jordan to fund programmes in accountable governance, opportunities for women and the young, health and education, and water services.