IMF stands firm on Romanian 2010 budget gap target

International Monetary Fund will stand firm on the target for Romanian 2010 budget gap, of 5.9% of GDP, a comfortable target even in the event of Romania’s failure to emerge from the political crisis, Tony Lybek, IMF representative to Romania, said Tuesday.
“Should the macroeconomic environment suffer major changes, the target will be revised, same as we did in March earlier this year. We have already agreed on a budget gap of 5.9% of GDP for 2010, and we are pretty firm”.

The budget gap agreed with the Romanian authorities is pretty comfortable, and IMF has been flexible in its talks with Romania.

However, meeting the 5.9% target range is not enough, IMF representative continued, since the public expenses structure is monitored as well. However, Lybek refused to comment on cost-containment actions.

“The last thing we want to do is escalate the crisis in Romania. We want to make sure it will stand below 3% in a sustainable way”, Lybek pointed out.

The representative added that IMF “hopes” Romanian 2009 budget gap would be contained within the 7.3% target range of GDP, as IMF’s latter projection announced during its October-November mission suggested a 7.8% deficit.

“Numbers look slightly better now. We have seen some improvements and we hope the target will be met”.

The Jan-Nov budget deficit stood at 6% of GDP, according to the preliminary results made public by the Ministry of Finance.

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