'Debt sustainability'

It is the biggest international rescue package for an emerging market economy since the start of the current global crisis and is the first for an EU-member country.

Last week the IMF approved a $2.1bn deal for Iceland and a $16.5bn programme for Ukraine.

The IMF said the Hungary deal could be approved in early November under emergency rapid-response procedures activated earlier this month as the credit market crisis spread from the US and Europe.

The deal exceeds Hungary's "borrowing" quota in the IMF.

Each IMF member is assigned a quota based on its size in the world economy, which determines its financial commitment to the fund, its voting power, and has a bearing on how much it can borrow from the global lender.

Hungary's banking system is exposed to foreign financing at a time when investors are pulling back from developing economies worldwide. As a result, its economy has been battered by the ongoing financial crisis.

Strauss-Kahn said the programme should improve Hungary's fiscal balance and safeguard its financial sector.

"Specifically, the package includes measures to maintain adequate domestic and foreign currency liquidity, as well as strong levels of capital, for the banking system," he said.

"Important measures in the fiscal area will reduce government- financing needs and ensure longer-term debt sustainability," Strauss-Kahn added.

Ferenc Gyurcsany, the Hungarian prime minister, warned the Central European country is likely to slide into recession next year.

Meanwhile, the World Bank said it was working with Hungary to tackle longer-term structural problems in its economy.

"Proposed World Bank assistance would support the design and implementation of reforms in key areas, such as the financial sector, fiscal management, and social sector reforms," Orsalia Kalantzopoulos, the World Bank director for Central Europe and Baltic countries, said.

"These measures would support the country's longer-term stabilisation and economic restructuring," she added.