Lebanon’s public debt rises 10.3% y/y to USD 63.3bn at end-November 2013

By bne IntelliNews January 24, 2014

Lebanon’s gross public debt grew 9.9% y/y and 1.3% m/m to LBP 95.35tn (USD 63.3bn) at end-November 2013, easing from a 10.3% growth at end-October, data from the association of banks in Lebanon showed on Jan 24. The public debt, which also rose 9.6% ytd, was lifted by onoging domestic debt issuances to meet budget needs.

On September 26, the finance ministry sold LBP 1.2tn (USD 800mn) worth of LBP-denominated in 10- and 12-year T-bonds to cover public-sector salaries and partially repay external debt up to end-2013. The oversized 180,000-staff public sector, including the military and security services, is responsible for around 35% of the total budget expenses annually, according to official estimates.

Net public debt, which excludes public sector deposits at commercial banks and the central bank from gross public debt, rose 7.4% y/y to LBP 79.5tn at end-November.

The LBP-denominated debt rose 8.9% y/y to LBP 55.9tn (58.7% of the total), lifted by higher subscriptions in T-bills issues. The FX-denominated debt expanded 11.2% y/y to LBP 39.42tn (41.3% of the total gross debt).

Banks held 53.3% of the LBP debt at end-November and the central bank had a 30.1% share. Some 16.6% of the debt was held by the non-banking sector. Eurobonds (90.5%), multilateral (4.6%), bilateral (3.9%), Paris II loans (0.5%) and others (0.5%) constituted the FX debt.

The average maturity of the LBP-denominated government debt securities was estimated at 1,298 days (3.56 years) with a weighted interest of 6.87%. The average maturity of the FX-denominated government debt instruments averaged 5.66 years with a weighted interest of 6.49%.

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