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Ireland, Portugal Haven’t Asked for Funds, IMF’s Atkinson Says

Ireland has not applied for any funding from the International Monetary Fund and its government is taking “appropriate” fiscal measures, an IMF spokeswoman said.

“There have been no requests for financing support or any special request to the IMF,” Caroline Atkinson, the institution’s director of external relations, said today at a press conference in Washington when asked about Portugal and Ireland.

“We do believe that the fiscal measures that the government has announced and is implementing and discussing in its budget are appropriate and the right thing to do given the financing and fiscal pressures in Ireland,” she said.

Investors are fleeing Irish bonds on concern bank bailout costs and a shrinking economy will hurt efforts to tame the European Union’s biggest budget deficit. Ireland’s economy unexpectedly contracted in the second quarter, as consumers cut spending and a rise in imports outweighed higher exports.

Governments in Europe need to both implement fiscal tightening plans that they announced and measures to boost growth in coming years, Atkinson said.

She said the IMF supports Portugal’s goal to bring its budget gap to within European Union limits by 2013. She also said that Greece, which received a 110-billion euro ($147 billion) package from the IMF and the EU, may return to debt markets in 12 to 18 months.

She refused to comment on Japan’s intervention on the yen, adding that it’s important that the government continues spurring growth. “They have been clear on their monetary policy in that regard and that’s where we think the focus should be,” she said.

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