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U.S. to Lend $545 Million to mexico to pay Its Debts : Oil Crisis Reason for Big Bailout

August 27, 1986|United Press International

WASHINGTON — The United States announced today that it will participate in an international program to provide $1.6 billion in short-term credit to Mexico to help that nation meet its most pressing foreign debt obligations.

A statement by the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve Board said the two agencies will provide a total of $545 million to beef up Mexico's international reserves, which have been severely depleted by the collapse in world oil prices.

Oil is Mexico's chief export, and the price dive will cost the country an estimated $6 billion this year.

The central banks of Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Uruguay have already agreed to provide $555 million to Mexico, and a consortium of international commercial banks will provide the remaining $500 million.

Pacts With World Bodies

Last month, Mexican Finance Minister Gustavo Petricioli signed agreements with the International Monetary Fund and World Bank worth about $3.6 billion over three years in return for measures to promote domestic growth and stability.

Under an agreement worked out with active U.S. participation, Mexico committed itself to reducing its 1987 budget deficit by about 3% and implementing structural changes to increase its tax base, continue turning over government industries to the private sector and encourage foreign investment and technology transfer.

The "bridge loan" announced today is not contingent upon any further policy considerations and is intended as short-term aid to help Mexico regain its financial equilibrium and meet payments on nearly $100 billion in outstanding debt.

"Up to $850 million of the official component will be available to Mexico immediately if needed," the statement said.

'Growth-Oriented Program'

"This facility is being made available in light of the agreement between the United Mexican States and the managements of the IMF and World Bank on a growth-oriented economic program," it said.

"Any drawings on the official component are to be repaid from disbursements by these two international institutions. Any drawings on the commercial bank portion are to be repaid from disbursements by commercial banks under their more permanent financing arrangements for Mexico now being formulated."

Interest payments by Mexico to commercial banks and international lending institutions on existing loans will come to more than $9 billion in 1986.

Of the $545 million to be provided by the United States, $273 million will come from the Treasury Department's Exchange Stabilization Fund and $272 million will be provided by the Fed through "swap arrangements," the statement said.

No firm repayment schedule was specified in the bridge loan.

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