Jul 14, 8:35 AM EDT

IMF head Lagarde praises Egypt for economic reform measures, says they'll set country on 'path of stability'


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CAIRO (AP) -- The head of the International Monetary Fund has praised Egypt's reform measures, saying they will set the country on "a path of stability."

Christine Lagarde said in a statement late Thursday that Egypt's government and central bank have "taken the right measures to rein in inflation, reduce the budget deficit, and set the Egyptian economy on a path to stability and growth."

Lagarde added she was "very pleased" with the government's "measures to protect the poor and vulnerable groups, including through increasing social spending."

Egypt is implementing painful austerity measures demanded by the IMF for a $12 billion bailout loan. Last week, electricity prices were raised by more than 40 percent.

Egypt's economy has been battered since the 2011 uprising and continues to face major challenges, including rising Islamic militancy.

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