Complex Made Simple

Lebanon to grow 1.5-2 per cent in 2016-central bank governor

Lebanon’s economy is expected to grow 1.5 to 2 percent in 2016, Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh said in a televised speech in Beirut on Thursday, in line with ratings agency forecasts.

Inflation in 2016 was expected to be close to zero percent, he said, in a speech to a banking conference.

Salameh added that central bank reserves in September were at historically high levels and that bank deposits had risen at an annualised rate approaching five percent.

Ratings agency Fitch said in July it expected real growth in Lebanon’s gross domestic product to remain lower than 2 percent in 2016. Moody’s said in the same month that it expected the economy to grow at a rate of 1.7 percent this year.

Lebanon’s economy has for years been hindered by regional unrest, including the war in neighbouring Syria, and by its own political crisis.

But the election of President Michel Aoun this month after a two-and-a-half-year period without a president, and the expected formation of a new Lebanese government with Saad al-Hariri as prime minister, may help alleviate Lebanon’s political deadlock.