IMF says Ecuador asked to begin discussing a new program; bonds rise

FILE PHOTO: The IMF logo is seen outside the headquarters building in Washington

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund said on Thursday that Ecuadorean authorities officially requested "a few weeks ago" to begin discussions on a potential new program with the IMF, but gave no details.

"Staff are actively engaging with the authorities to assess the economic situation and support the reforms to address the challenges facing the country," fund spokesperson Julie Kozack said in a scheduled press briefing.

"The recent wave of violence has come at a time of a challenging macroeconomic and fiscal outlook for Ecuador," she said.

Ecuador’s international dollar bonds rose on Thursday, with the 2040 and 2035 up 2 cents each while the 2030 added 1.75 cent, according to LSEG data.

The Ecuadorean government did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but President Daniel Noboa said earlier this week the government is "working also on a deal with the IMF which will be done in the next two to three months."

Ecuador has been fighting violence blamed on drug trafficking, with the government last month proposing to raise security spending by $214 million this year as it deploys the ilitary to help fight the violence.

(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos, David Lawder and Alexandra Valencia; Editing by Chris Reese and Leslie Adler)