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Lebanon gross public debt at $72bn at end-April 2016

BEIRUT | iloubnan.info - June 15, 2016, 08h03

Lebanon's gross public debt reached $71.7bn at the end of April 2016, constituting an increase of 1.9% from $70.3bn at end-2015 and a rise of 3.1% from $69.5bn at the end of April 2015, Byblos Bank's Lebanon This Week reported.

In nominal terms, the gross public debt grew by $1.3bn in the first four months of 2016 relative to an increase of $2.9bn in the same period of 2015. Domestic debt totaled $44bn at end-April 2016, growing by 1.8% from end-2015 and by 4.8% from end-April 2015; while debt in foreign currency stood at $27.64bn, constituting an increase of 2.1% from end-2015 and a rise of 0.7% from a year earlier.

Local currency debt accounted for 61.4% of gross public debt at the end of April 2016 compared to 60.5% a year earlier, while foreign currency-denominated debt represented the balance of 38.6% relative to 39.5% at end-April 2015. The weighted interest rate on outstanding Treasury bills was 6.96% and the rate on Eurobonds was 6.47% in April 2016. Further, the weighted life on Eurobonds was 6.29 years, while that on Treasury bills was 1,268 days.

Commercial banks held 43.5% of the Lebanese pound-denominated public debt at the end of April 2016 compared to 48.8% a year earlier. They were followed by the Central Bank with 40.3%, up from 34.4% at end-April 2015; while public agencies, financial institutions and the public accounted for 16.2% of local debt, down from 16.8% a year earlier.

In parallel, Eurobond holders and special Tbills in foreign currencies accounted for 92.3% of foreign-currency denominated debt at the end of April 2016, followed by foreign governments with 3.9%, multilateral institutions with 3.8% and Paris II loans with 0.2%.

The net public debt, which excludes public sector deposits at the Central Bank and at commercial banks from overall debt figures, increased by 6% year-on-year to $62.5bn. In parallel, the gross market debt accounted for about 65% of total public debt. Gross market debt is the total public debt less the portfolios of the Central Bank, the National Social Security Fund, bilateral and multilateral loans, as well as Paris II and Paris III related debt.

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