Garbis Iradian, the International Institute of Finance's deputy director for the MENA region. (The Daily Star/HO)
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Declining oil prices and a stronger dollar are expected to encourage consumption and contribute to a modest economic rebound in Lebanon in 2015, according to the preliminary annual findings of the International Institute of Finance.According to the IIF, lower oil prices and a stronger Lebanese currency will reduce the cost of Lebanon's imported goods from an estimated $19.2 billion in 2014 to $17.2 billion in 2015 .The fiscal deficit narrowed significantly in 2014 to reach 7.5 percent of GDP as opposed to 9.3 percent of GDP in 2013, according to the IIF's revised estimates.The government debt to GDP ratio increased slightly from 139 percent of GDP in 2013 to 140 percent in 2014 and is forecast to reach 141.3 percent in 2015, Iradian said.The IIF projected the primary balance at 1.3 percent of GDP in 2015 compared to 1.4 percent in 2014 and a primary deficit equivalent to 0.5 percent of GDP in 2013 . Lebanon's GDP growth decreased to 1.2 percent in 2013 from 3 percent in 2011 when the Syrian conflict broke out, bringing to an end three years of nearly double-digit growth for the Lebanese economy.
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