Ukraine expects the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to approve a US$5 billion (4.05 billion pounds) loan package at a board meeting on June 5 and the first tranche of US$1.9 billion to be disbursed the following day, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said on Friday.

Ukraine needs the loans to weather an economic shock caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Gross domestic product could fall by 12% in the second quarter of this year, according to a preliminary estimate, Shmyhal said in an interview to Reuters.

He also said the government would allow wheat exporters to export freely for the next two months.

Read alsoIMF, Ukraine reach staff level agreement on new SBA over COVID-19 pandemic

As UNIAN reported earlier, an IMF staff team led by Ivanna Vladkova Hollar concluded remote discussions with the Ukrainian authorities on May 21 and reached a staff-level agreement on economic policies for a new 18-month Stand-By Arrangement (SBA).

The National Bank of Ukraine predicts receipt of the first IMF tranche worth US$2 billion in the second quarter of 2020.