IMF looks to stave off looming Ukraine default

International Monetary Fund (IMF) First Deputy Managing Director David Lipton speaks before the press in Tokyo on May 31, 2013The second-in-command at the International Monetary Fund heads to Ukraine this weekend to gauge whether its Western-backed leaders are committed enough to overhauling their crippled economy to justify another financial lifeline. The Fund’s First Deputy Managing Director David Lipton — a White House veteran who spearheaded the US response to the 1998 Asian financial crisis — will arrive in a war-scarred nation that stands helpless in the face of a looming debt default. The architects of the package had hoped to use it as an incentive for Ukraine to wean itself off Communist-era subsidies long abandoned by its smaller but now far-better-off neighbours in eastern Europe. Few of those steps have yet been taken — although President Petro Poroshenko has promised to ram a lean and market-friendly budget through parliament by the end of the year.

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