Here are the top stories for Lebanon today:
Lebanon’s finance minister said “matters are under control” on Thursday when asked about a Moody’s credit analysis that saw an increased risk of a debt rescheduling or default due to slowing capital inflows and weaker deposit growth. Ali Hassan Khalil was speaking to reporters at the government headquarters in Beirut ahead of the start of a cabinet meeting.
Slowing capital inflows to Lebanon and weaker deposit growth increase the risk of a debt rescheduling or other steps that may constitute a default despite fiscal consolidation measures in the 2019 draft budget, Moody’s Investors Service said. The draft budget aims to cut the deficit to 7.6% of gross domestic product from 11.5% last year, with Lebanese leaders warning the country faces financial crisis without reform. Lebanon’s public debt is 150% of gross domestic product, among the largest in the world
Trend News Agency) The Qatar Fund for Development donated four million U.S. dollars to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to support Syrian refugees in Lebanon,Trendreports citing Xinhua. The donation’s agreement was signed on Wednesday between the Qatari Ambassador to Lebanon Mohammad Hassan Jaber Al-Jaber, representative of the fund, and the UNHCR Representative in Lebanon Mireille Girard, according to Elnashra, an online independent newspaper. The agreement aims at providing housing for 8,000 vulnerable Syrian refugees and medical services to 3,000 Syrian refugees in Bekaa, Lebanon.
Fitch Ratings: Lebanon financing pressures continue
Fitch Ratings issued a press release in which it said: Lebanon’s draft 2019 budget targets fiscal consolidation, but we do not expect full implementation, and additional fiscal and structural reforms would be required to stabilisze government debt/GDP, . Proposals to issue T bonds at below-market rates, most likely to the central bank, reflect the difficulty of cutting spending and tight liquidity in the financial system. Lebanon’s external finances also remain under pressure, illustrated by declines in foreign reserves and bank deposits in the four months to April.
Hundreds of veterans burned tyres and blocked highways in Lebanon on Thursday to protest a pension tax and benefit cuts in a 2019 budget intended to slash the country’s deficit. Parliament is debating the draft budget approved by the cabinet last month. It aims to cut the deficit to 7.6% of gross domestic product (GDP) from 11.5% last year, as Lebanese leaders warn the country faces financial crisis if there is no reform.