Washington:  The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said it was releasing 3.2 billion Euros (USD 4.6 billion) to Greece as part of its joint bailout with the European Union for the debt-stricken country.

The IMF said on Friday that Athens was making "some progress" in reforms, and predicted the country would return to positive economic growth in the first half of 2012.

The newest release of the IMF's part in the three-year, 110 billion EU-IMF bailout came as Europe's leaders and banks struggle to achieve an ostensibly voluntary restructuring of the country's debt to relieve pressure on Athens and avert a default on its debt.

New IMF chief Christine Lagarde said the Greek bailout is "delivering important results."

"The fiscal deficit is being reduced, the economy is re-balancing, and competitiveness is gradually improving," she said.

"However, with many important structural reforms still to be implemented, significant policy challenges remain," she said, citing the need for more work on narrowing the country's fiscal deficit and increasing economic productivity to restore growth.

(Agencies)