According to Ministry of Finance (MoF) latest figures, Lebanon’s fiscal deficit (cash basis) stood at $2.68B by November 2020, down from last year’s $4.91B.
In detail, the substantial deficit is attributed to the annual 11.83% drop in government revenues (including treasuries) which fell to $8.96B by November 2020. On the counterpart, total expenditures (including treasuries) retreated yearly by 22.80% to $11.64B by end of November 2020. It is worth noting that the primary balance which excludes debt service posted a deficit of $462.47M, compared to a surplus of $870.01M during the same period last year.
Fiscal revenues recorded a yearly drop by 17.58% to stand at $7.98B. Tax revenues (constituting 77.82% of total revenues) retreated by an annual 19.98% to $6.21B by November 2020. Revenues from VAT (17.34% of total tax receipts) dropped by 48.18% y-o-y to $1,07B. The drop in “VAT revenues” is most probably attributed to the deterioration of Lebanese purchasing power with the decrease in value of Lebanese pound, which obligated Lebanese people to rationalize their spending.
As for Non-tax revenues (22.18% of total revenues), they dropped from $1.92B by November 2019 to $1.77B by November 2020. Meanwhile, “Telecom revenues” (constituting 44.34% of total non-tax revenues) shrunk yearly by 7.34% to reach $785.30M by November 2020.
On the expenditures’ side, transfers to Electricity du Liban (EDL) (9.6% of general expenditure) slid by 41.09% to reach $810.52M. Moreover, total debt servicing (including the interest payments and principal repayment) reached $1.76B by November 2020, down by a yearly 65.69% such that interest payments alone retreated by 66.77% y-o-y to $1.65B. In details, interest payments on domestic debt slumped by 48.03% y-o-y to $1.49B. Meanwhile, interest payments on foreign debt registered a year-on-year significant drop by 92.69% to $152.36M.
In its turn, the treasury transactions (includes revenues and spending that are of temporary nature) posted a deficit of $449.77M compared to a deficit $635.02M by November 2019.
Yearly Fiscal deficit by November (in $M)
Source: MoF, BLOMINVEST