Salameh says the cost of crisis has been a rise in interests rates on the pound. AFP / JOSEPH EID
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Lebanon's ability to weather the crisis sparked last month by the premier's now-rescinded resignation has increased confidence in its economy, the governor of the country's Central Bank said Friday. Lebanon, chronically feared to be on the brink of default, was shaken by an unprecedented crisis that saw Prime Minister Saad Hariri resign from Saudi Arabia in mysterious circumstances before a Western diplomatic effort and subsequent national consultations saved his job.While the future of ties betwen Lebanon and Saudi Arabia – of which Hariri is also a citizen – remains unclear, Salameh voiced confidence that the political turmoil had not spilled over.Tens of thousands of Lebanese work in Saudi Arabia and contribute up to $1.2 billion of the $8 billion sent to Lebanon in remittances in 2017, a massive source of foreign currency for the country.Salameh said much-belated government initiatives to work on large-scale infrastructure projects could inject some life in an otherwise stagnant economy, whose growth rate dropped from 8.0 percent pre-2011 to between 1 and 2 percent since.
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