Nation reported to be hoping to follow Latvia and Hungary in securing aid deal from IMF

Romania has begun preliminary talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a deal to help restore its huge trade deficit and finance budget spending.

A spokesman for Romania's central bank said that its deputy governor, Christian Popa, was in Washington on Monday for talks with the IMF, according to Reuters reports.

The spokesman refused to offer any details of the talks, but Reuters said that an aid deal was being discussed.

The Romanian government has already approached the European Union over the possibility of financial aid, as the global downturn grips Eastern Europe.

“Deputy governor Christian Popa is in Washington these days after (having) … been in Brussels,” central bank spokesman Mugur Stet said, according to Reuters. “He will have meetings, discussions and preliminary assessments with the fund.”

Short-term financing needs amount to up to $12.62bn (£8.8bn), stemming mostly from corporate sector debt, government officials said.

Economists have suggested that Romania could be next in line among Eastern Europe nations to be rescued by the IMF and the EU, following similar deals secured by Latvia and Hungary last year.

Romania has been perceived as a hugely vulnerable economy, thanks to its large hard currency debt and trade deficit.