The data released by the Ministry of Finance (MoF) recently, indicated that Lebanon’s gross public debt hit $97.26B in the first quarter of 2021, thereby recording an annual increase of 5.2%.
The rise is mainly attributed to the annual increase in both local and foreign currency debt by 3.86% and 7.62%, respectively. In details, debt in local currency (denominated in LBP) stood at $60.58B in March 2021. As such, domestic debt constituted 62.29% of the total public debt.
Meanwhile, total debt denominated in foreign currency (namely in USD) reached $36.68B over the same period. Therefore, total foreign debt grasped a stake of 37.71% of the total public debt by March 2021. It is worth mentioning that $5.14B represents the unpaid Eurobonds, their coupons and accrued interests, due to the default on government Eurobonds in March 2020.
Looking at net domestic debt, which excludes public sector deposits with the central bank and commercial banks, it increased by 1.15% YTD to $50.07B in March 2021.
On the whole, the economic meltdown in Lebanon is vigorously attributed to the model of debt accumulation by the ruling political class. However, the Lebanese authorities have so far failed to implement the needed reform measures to decrease its yearly public debt. The country is in dire need for an efficient and urgent government capable of monitoring its financial and economic crisis.
Domestic and Foreign Debt by March ($B)
Source: MoF, BLOMINVEST