The International Monetary Fund and World Bank are discussing possible financing assistance for Azerbaijan to help it cope with mounting currency pressures and other fallout from a steep drop in oil prices, the institutions confirmed on Wednesday.
"An IMF team will be in Baku during Jan. 28-Feb. 4 for a fact-finding staff visit at the authorities' request. The team will discuss areas for technical assistance and assess possible financing needs," an IMF spokesman said.
The Financial Times reported that IMF and World Bank officials were discussing a possible $4 billion emergency loan package that could be the first of several bailouts for oil-exporting countries spurred by plunging oil prices. IMF and World Bank spokesmen declined to confirm the amount.
The manat has lost about a third of its value against the dollar in the past month and the central bank has spent more than half its foreign currency reserves, which now stand at about $5 billion, trying to protect it from low oil prices. Oil and gas account for 75 percent of the state's revenues.