By DESMOND BUTLER
WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ The International Monetary Fund on Wednesday approved a â¿¬3.24 billion ($4.3 billion) loan installment to Greece, following an economic review.
The decision by the IMF's board was expected following the Greek parliament's approval this week of an emergency bill ratifying dozens of conditions set by bailout lenders. Greece also completed a loan buyback last month that reduced its debt by more than â¿¬20 billion ($27 billion).
Greece's economy is being kept afloat by international rescue loans from other eurozone members and the IMF. The loans were granted on condition that the country impose spending cuts and other austerity measures. As Greece has imposed the measures, unemployment and poverty rates have shot up.But last month, the country's crisis eased after European rescue lenders approved new installments worth $65.5 billion, with $45.76 billion paid out days later and the rest to be transferred to Greece by March. ___ Follow Desmond Butler on Twitter at http://twitter.com/desmondbutler