Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh speaks during an interview with The Daily Star in Beirut, Friday, March 16, 2018. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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Lebanon's pound is stable and the central bank has the means to defend its stability, central bank governor Riad Salameh said on Monday, urging fiscal reforms to reinforce monetary stability.Salameh, in an interview with Reuters, said the central bank was not concerned about the pound -- pegged at its current level since 1997 -- despite "a lot of rumors". Bank deposits are expected to go up by between 4 percent and 5 percent this year, which Salameh called "acceptable for Lebanon".Salameh said last month he expected bank lending to fall by 1.6 percent in 2018 on last year.The central bank has forecast 2 percent growth this year.In May, the government completed a $5.5 billion debt swap with the central bank, issuing Eurobonds to the central bank in exchange for Lebanese pound treasury bills.
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