IMF: Lebanon GDP Could Grow By 8% In 2010

Lebanon could see its gross domestic product grow by 8% or more this year, the International Monetary Fund said Tuesday.

“Lebanon is reaping the benefits of improved domestic stability and prudent policies,” said Andreas Bauer, the fund’s Lebanon mission chief. The fund just completed its annual review of the Lebanese economy.

The IMF said budget surpluses have brought the country’s debt-to-GDP ratio down 30% from the staggering 180% where it stood in 2006.

“While progress is palpable on many fronts, vulnerabilities remain high,” Bauer said. “At 147 percent of GDP at end-2009, the government’s debt is still among the highest in the world.”

The IMF is encouraging Lebanon to continue cutting deficit levels and to overhaul its tax policies.

Salameh

Lebanon’s fourth year of strong economic growth should reduce public debt to 139 percent of gross domestic product from about 147 percent, Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh said.

Salameh, speaking in an interview in Beirut today, reiterated that he expects growth of about 8 percent this year.