Figures released by the Ministry of Finance (MoF) revealed that Lebanon’s gross public debt climbed by a monthly 1.2% and grew by a yearly 5.3% to hit $86.2B in the first quarter of 2019 (Q1). The rise came on the back of increases in local currency (LC) debt as well as foreign currency (FC) debt in the first three months of the year.
In details, the larger uptick was recorded by FC debt, as it added a significant 10.4% year-on-year (y-o-y) to $33.8B in Q1 2019. As such, the share of FC debt of total gross debt grew from 37.4% in Q1 2018 to 39.2% in Q1 2019. Meanwhile, LC debt added a yearly 2.3% to stand at $52.4B by March 2019, grasping 60.83% of the gross debt over the same period.
In turn, Net public debt which is government debt excluding public sector deposits at commercial banks and the central bank, increased by an annual 8.6% to reach $77.2B in Q1 2019.
BLOMInvest Bank has also recently conducted a more in depth study on Lebanon’s historical levels of debt and its evolution.
Constituents of Lebanese Gross Public Debt in Q1 (in $B)