Lebanon political crisis clouds economic growth

Published January 18th, 2011 - 07:55 GMT

The Governor of Lebanon's Central Bank Riad Salameh has warned of the negative effects on the economic growth and the size of the debt relative to the gross domestic product. as the political crisis continues in Lebanon. Salameh expressed the hope that the crisis will be solved soon, stressing "if it goes on this will affect the growth and has a negative effect on the ratio of debt compared with the gross domestic product. It will also delay the of reforms that Lebanon promised to implement. 

Turning to the ratio of debt compared with GDP, he said it declined from 180 per cent in 2006 to 148 per cent at the end of 2009. 

The Governor of the Central Bank also warned that the continuing crisis would also affect the performance of the tourism sector and increase unemployment at a time when purchasing power is already affected by rising global prices of raw materials, especially food and petroleum. He pointed out to a decline in the country's economic indicators since the beginning of the crisis over the work of the international tribunal regarding the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005. 

The governor refused to predict the  growth rate in Lebanon during 2011, given the uncertain political conditions. It should be mentioned that the International ratings agency "Moody's" has expected decline in Lebanon's growth rate to 5% compared to 7% or 8% in 2010. 

The value of Lebanon's public debt amounts to more than US$50 billion, which was accumulated since the end of the civil war (1975-1990).

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