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IMF gives formal approval to second Greek bail-out of £23 billion

The IMF's executive board rubber-stamped the agreement, and a statement from the Fund said an immediate €1.65 billion would be released to Greece.

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IMF gives formal approval to second Greek bail-out of £23  billion
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The International Monetary Fund has formally approved its €28 billion (£23 billion) contribution to a second bail-out for Greece, as part of a €130 billion package of emergency funding from fellow eurozone members.

The IMF's executive board rubber-stamped the agreement, and a statement from the Fund said an immediate €1.65 billion would be released to Greece.

IMF approval followed the go-ahead from all eurozone national parliaments on Wednesday, which means Greece will receive the funding it needs to stay afloat after protracted negotiations and further budget cuts.

Despite the bail-out, the ongoing fragility of the Greek economy was underlined by the latest unemployment statistics, which showed the country's jobless rate jumped to a record 20.7% in the fourth quarter of 2011. Young people in Greece have been worst affected, with almost four in 10 people aged between 15 and 29 out of work, up from 28% a year earlier.

The Spanish economy is also struggling.

House prices in the country fell by 11.2% in the final three months of last year, compared with the same period a year earlier.

It was the fastest pace of decline since 2007, when the National Statistical Institute's series began, and left prices around 22% lower than their pre-crisis peak.

"With household credit declining, unemployment at 23% and rising, and a massive overhang of hundreds of thousands of unsold homes remaining, Spanish house prices are set to fall further over coming quarters," said Chris Scicluna, economist at Daiwa Capital Markets.

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