Lebanon's budget gap widens 68% y/y to USD 1.9bn in Jan-June 2013

By bne IntelliNews September 19, 2013

Lebanon's budget deficit (including Treasury transactions) expanded 68% y/y to LBP 2.862tn (USD 1.9bn) in the first six months of the year as revenue shrank and spending increased, daily Al-akhbar reported on Sept 19, citing a statement by the finance ministry.

Total revenue dropped 4.3% y/y to LBP 7.318tn, whereas spending rose 8.9% to LBP 10.18tn. The primary budget surplus, excluding the cost of debt servicing, plummeted to LBP 25bn from LBP 1.164tn a year earlier. Excluding debt servicing, spending rose 12.6% y/y to LBP 7.293bn in H1.

Caretaker finance minister Mohammed Safadi has recently warned that the budget deficit would reach LBP 5.5tn by end-2013 and might expand further in 2014 if no measures were taken to boost revenue.

Custom proceeds fell 2.6% y/y to LBP 1.065tn in January-June and VAT income dropped 3.3% to LBP 1.619tn on weak tourism activity.

A weak real estate activity also reduced non-tax income by 12% y/y to LBP 1.486tn over the period. 

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