Egypt turns to IMF as deficit balloons

Egypt has officially asked the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a loan, the Fund has confirmed.

The IMF will send a team next week to Cairo to discuss the terms with the country's post-revolution government.

Finance Minister Samir Radwan told the BBC the situation was "very difficult", and he expected the deficit to reach 9-10% of economic output next year.

He said the country needed $2bn the rest of this financial year, and $10bn for the 2011-12 year.

Loan deals have already been agreed with the World Bank and the African Development Bank.

Elevated demands of the people after the revolution were adding to pressure on the budget, he said.

He also emphasised that while there was no going back on Egypt's free market economy, greater social justice was needed.