The International Monetary Fund on Friday approved a 26 billion euro ($37 billion) loan for Portugal and said it would immediately disburse 6.1 billion euros of the money to the euro zone member country to ease investor concerns over its debts.

The IMF said in a statement that total financing to Portugal in 2011 will include about 12.6 billion from the IMF and another 25.2 billion from the European Union. The funding is part of a 78 billion euro bailout package by the EU and IMF.

The financing package is designed to allow Portugal some breathing space from borrowing in the markets while it demonstrates implementation of the policy steps needed to get the economy back on track, the IMF said in a statement

(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Leslie Adler)