In its semi-annual survey on the creditworthiness of 145 countries, the American magazine Institutional Investor ranked Lebanon 77th worldwide, down from 74th in the previous survey, and 12th out of 17 countries in the Middle East and North Africa region. The survey ranks the creditworthiness of countries on a scale of 0 to 100, with 100 representing countries with the least chance of debt default. Lebanon scored 36.8 points, below the regional and global averages of 45.68 and 43.4, respectively.
However, Lebanon’s score improved by 1.8 points since the March survey and by 3.2 points on a yearly basis. Lebanon ranked ahead of Libya, Iran, Algeria, Syria and Iraq in the region, and came immediately behind Namibia, Bulgaria, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic on a global basis. The United Arab Emirates had the best creditworthiness in the MENA region while Switzerland continued the have the lowest probability of default worldwide.
The survey stated that the booming global economy has helped boost country ratings to their highest level since 1982, with ratings increasing for 111 countries out of 145. The MENA region showed significant improvement where Syria and Iran were the only countries to register declines. The study also indicated that governments’ increasing willingness to undertake financial reforms is increasing investor confidence, and noted that emerging markets have made substantial progress in this area. However, it cautioned that increased public sector indebtedness reduces the benefits of reform in some countries. — (Lebanon Invest)