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Lebanon budget deficit up, public debt down

Local banking sector accounts for 47.7 per cent of local currency-denominated debt

Lebanon’s budget deficit surged to $2.608 billion at the end of September, compared with $2.222bn in the same period last year, fresh figures indicate.

The state’s revenues (budget and treasury) edged down by 8.6 per cent year-on-year to a total of $7.23bn as non-tax earnings slipped by 9.7 per cent to $859 million.

According to data released by BLOM Bank and Byblos Bank, public expenditures (budget and treasury) narrowed down by 2.9 per cent to $9.7bn.

Meanwhile, fresh figures have revealed that the Arab nation’s public debt dipped slightly by 0.24 per cent or $68.7bn in September, as against $68.8bn in August.

The local banking sector still accounts for 47.7 per cent of the local currency-denominated debt while the central bank accounts for 35.7 per cent of public debt.

Approximately 91.5 per cent of the foreign currency-denominated debt was in the form of Eurobonds, the data published by Al Mustaqbal reveals.

The average maturity period of local currency-denominated debt inched up to 3.3 years while interest rate averaged 6.9 per cent.

The maturity period of foreign currency-denominated debt averaged 5.6 years, while average annual interest rate remained roughly 6.4 per cent.

($1 = AED3.67, at the time of publishing)