IMF avoids comment on speculation India seeking aid

IMF avoids comment on speculation India seeking aid Washington: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Thursday declined to comment on speculation that India, reeling under a currency crisis, may seek its assistance.

A wave of poor economic news for India -- the rupee crashed to a new record closing low Wednesday -- has fuelled talk that New Delhi might need to seek outside help, particularly from the IMF.

Spokesman Gerry Rice, at a regularly scheduled news briefing, sidestepped a reporter's question for comment on speculation that the Indian government would seek IMF assistance and was considering selling gold to the Washington-based global lender.

"I wouldn't want to speculate on any support or programme needs," he said.

Rice pointed to India's economic woes, citing the combination of large fiscal and current account deficits, high inflation and reliance on portfolio inflows as "long-standing vulnerabilities that have now been elevated as global liquidity conditions tighten."

The current situation presents a challenge, he acknowledged, "but also an opportunity for the government to continue on its policy efforts on a number of fronts."

India last approached the IMF for funds in 1991 during a balance of payments crisis that was considered a national embarrassment.

AFP