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UPDATE 3-Egypt says it will start talks on $2 bln loan from China next week

(Adds China comment)

CAIRO, Sept 19 Egypt will start talks with China over a $2 billion loan next week and plans to issue international bonds in October or November, Deputy Finance Minister for Treasury Mohamed Meait said on Monday.

The Egyptian government approved the potential sale of $3 billion to $5 billion of international bonds in August and engaged JPMorgan, Citi, BNP Paribas, and Natixis to act as lead managers.

Deputy Finance Minister Ahmed Kojak said earlier Egypt was in talks with China over a loan but gave no further details.

"All the details are with the central bank," he said.

International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr meanwhile told the state news agency on Monday that Egypt is in talks with China over a loan of $4 billion. Of that, $1 billion would be used to support foreign reserves, with $3 billion allocated for developmental projects, Nasr said.

Egypt has reached a preliminary agreement with the International Monetary Fund over a $12 billion loan programme but must secure another $5 billion-$6 billion in bilateral financing to secure the IMF board's approval.

CHINESE STATEMENT

An IMF official said last week that the Fund had held "very productive discussions" with authorities in China and Saudi Arabia about their contributing to that bilateral financing.

Asked about a potential loan deal, China's Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that the two sides were in talks on a currency swap, but did not elaborate.

"China and Egypt's central banks are in discussions about a local currency swap and have made some initial progress. But they have not decided on the specific scale of the swap," ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters at a regular briefing.

It is unclear if the currency swap talks were related to talks on loans. China's central bank did not immediately respond to a Reuters question on the matter.

Egypt has struggled to revive its economy since a popular uprising in 2011 that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak but drove away tourists and foreign investors, the country's major sources of foreign currency.

Reserves have tumbled from $36 billion in 2011 to around $16.56 billion at the end of August, equivalent to just over three months' worth of imports. (Writing by Asma Alsharif; Additional reporting by Sue-Lin Wong and Michael Martina in Beijing; Editing by Catherine Evans and Richard Borsuk)

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