S. Korea is Latest Bailout for Monetary Fund

South Korea's request for some $20 billion in help from the International Monetary Fund last Friday is the latest plea to the world financial watchdog in a year that has seen accelerating demand for IMF bailouts.

For the IMF, set up in 1944 to oversee global finance, Korea is the latest in an expensive string of callers.

The Washington-based IMF became lender of last resort for a host of developing countries during the 1980s following the 1982-83 Latin American debt crisis. It was still routinely handing out some $8 billion a year in the early 1990s.

The following are some major past IMF bailouts:

1981: $5.3 billion for India.

1982: $3.9 billion for Mexico.

1995: $17.8 billion for Mexico, part of a $50.8 billion rescue package.

1996: $10.1 billion for Russia.

July 1997: $1.1 billion for Philippines.

August 1997: $3.9 billion for Thailand, part of a total package worth $17.2 billion.

October 1997: $10 billion for Indonesia, part of a total package worth up to $40 billion.

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