CHISINAU, Moldova (AP) — Moldova signed a 150 million-euro ($168 million) loan agreement with neighbor Romania Wednesday which it hopes will bolster its currency and promote investment.

Moldova Prime Minister Valeriu Strelet said the five-year loan, which has a 1.5 percent annual interest rate, was a reminder of the close relations between the neighbors.

He said Romania is "the only country in the world which constantly says: tell us how we can help you."

Romania's Parliament still needs to approve the loan.

Moldova's currency has shed about 20 percent of its value this year, after up to $1.5 billion disappeared from three banks before parliamentary elections in November 2014. The losses were covered by state reserves in one of Europe's poorest countries.

For one month, thousands have staged weekly demonstrations against the government, demanding a probe into the missing funds. The government has promised an inquiry. Some of the money was transferred to Russian banks, according to an internal parliamentary inquiry.

The International Monetary Fund said last month it would not negotiate a new loan program with Moldova, dashing the government's hopes of an immediate agreement to help cover pensions and salaries.