Lebanon’s Fiscal Deficit Contracted to $3.76B by December 2017

Lebanon’s fiscal deficit narrowed by 24% year-on-year (y-o-y) to $3.76B by December 2017. This was attributed to the 17.15% yearly increase in fiscal revenues, to $11.62B, outpacing the 3.45% annual rise, to $15.38B, in government expenditures.

During the same period, the total primary balance displayed a surplus of $1.43B by the end of 2017 compared to a lower primary surplus of $20.61M by December 2016.

Total budget revenues stood at $10.78B by December 2017, compared to a lower level of $9.28B by December 2016. Tax revenues, constituting the largest share of total public revenues, increased by a yearly 16.83% to $8.21B. In details, miscellaneous tax revenues, constituting the lion’s shares of total tax receipts (54.46%) rose by a yearly 28.5% to $4.47B. Moreover, VAT revenues (grasping a 28.07% share of tax receipts) rose by 7.47% y-o-y to $2.31B, and custom revenues (17.47% of tax receipts) added 2.18% to $1.43B, over the same period. As for telecom revenues (11.92% of total government revenues), they grew by 1.51% y-o-y to $1.28B, by December 2017.

As for expenditures, total budget expenditures rose by ayearly 8.74% to $14.08B by December 2017. Regarding transfers to Electricite du Liban, they surged by 43.25% annually to $1.33B, as a result of the increasing oil prices. Similarly, interest payments on government’s debt went up 4.67% y-o-y to $4.99B, due to the 5.58% rise in interest payments on domestic debt to $3.23B, and the 3.05% annual rise in the interest payments on foreign debt to $1.76B.

Yearly Government Deficit by December (in $B)

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Source: Ministry of finance

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