Lebanon mulls issuing dollar bond this month: Central Bank

Salameh says the forecast for economic growth this year stands at 2 percent.

KUWAIT: The Lebanese government may issue a dollar-denominated sovereign bond this month, the country’s Central Bank governor said Monday.

“The government and the Finance Ministry are thinking of going to the market again, maybe in October, with an issue of the Republic of Lebanon in dollars,” Riad Salameh said on the sidelines of a meeting of Arab central bankers in Kuwait.

He would not comment on details of the possible bond issue, saying it was up to the government to announce it.

Asked about growth prospects for the economy, which has been hit by the conflict in neighboring Syria and domestic political tensions, Salameh said: “This year, the forecast stands around 2 percent, maybe a little bit more, but less than 3 percent.”

“Last year was around 3 percent,” he said, based on estimates by the Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

That is much less than the previous government’s estimate of 5.2 percent.

Lebanon’s economic growth ground to a halt in the first half of 2011 following a Cabinet collapse and the impact of the early stages of the uprising in Syria.

The government previously issued dollar bonds in March, including $600 million due in 2017, paying 5 percent, and the addition of $350 million to a previous issue of 2026 bonds, paying 6.375 percent.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on October 02, 2012, on page 5.




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