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The IMF’s executive board approved an 18-month standby arrangement to support Colombia’s economic programme.

US$292mn will be made available immediately, and the remainder will be distributed in five installments of US$64mn each. This agreement replaces an expiring US$2.2bn loan.

“Colombia’s economic performance continued to improve during 2004, reflecting strong policy implementation as well as the favorable external environment. The external sector strengthened, aided by broad-based export growth as well as sizable net capital inflows,” Anne Krueger, the IMF’s first managing director and acting chair, was quoted as saying in an official press release.

Colombia, a member of the IMF, has a US$1.17bn quota in the fund.