IMF team to arrive in Egypt on Wednesday for loan talks

An International Monetary Fund delegation will arrive in Egypt on Wednesday for talks with the government on a $4.8 billion loan, Egypt's government spokesman Alaa El Hadidi said on Sunday.

More than two years of political upheaval have battered the Egyptian economy, leaving it in dire need of IMF funding to relieve a currency and budget crisis. The country's reserves of foreign currency have fallen to critically low levels, threatening its ability to import essential supplies of fuel and wheat.

President Mohamed Mursi's government initialed a deal with the IMF last November but postponed final ratification in December in the face of unrest triggered by a political row over the extent of his powers.

Hadidi, talking to reporters, gave no details on the new round of talks with the IMF. The IMF said last week a technical delegation would visit Cairo in the "first days of April".

Masood Ahmed, director of the IMF's Middle East and Central Asia department, visited Cairo on March 17, saying the Fund would continue talks aimed at agreeing possible financial aid.

(Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Catherine Evans)