Lebanon raised $400 million in four-year eurobonds Thursday, December 7, the first major financial transaction by Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri since he formed his government at the end of October, Minister of Finance Fuad Saniora said on Friday.
Saniora said the government raised $100 million more than it had initially expected.
"Lebanon succeeded in orchestrating this transaction at a favorable interest rate despite the volatile conditions on the world market after the crises in Argentina and Turkey," he told reporters at a news conference.
The financial institutions, J.P. Morgan and Credit Suisse-First Boston, loaned the money at a 9.5 percent interest rate, 4.1 percentage points higher than the standard US market rate, said Saniora.
The cash injection will help Lebanon restructure its public debt, of which 65 percent is shouldered by Lebanese banks, 25 percent by Middle Eastern banks and 10 percent by European institutions.
Lebanon's public debt had reached $22.9 billion at the end of June, including $5.5 billion in interest payments, said anonymous Lebanese bankers.
According to the same sources, the national debt surpassed the government's revenues by 103 percent in June.— (AFP)
© Agence France Presse 2000
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)