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French Version


Balance of payments records surplus - Central Bank bulletin announces rise in net foreign assets (Daily Star)

The balance of payments in the month of July recorded a surplus of $522.1 million, the Central Bank said in its monthly bulletin on Wednesday.

“This was reflected in the rise in the net foreign assets of Banque du Liban by $907.1 million while those of banks and financial institutions dropped by $385 million,” the Central Bank said.

It added that the cumulative surplus in the balance of payments in the first seven months stood at $2.937 billion.

The report added that the net public debt of the country stood at LL45.511 trillion ($30.34 billion) at the end of July, a monthly increase of LL216.7 billion. Year-on-year, the public debt growth rate continued to fall, standing at 4.09 percent at the end of July, compared with 4.12 percent at the end of June. External debt accounted for 52.2 percent of the net public debt, compared with 52.3 percent in June of this year.

The Central Bank’s gross foreign currency reserves reached $12.469 billion at end of July, while total assets, including gold, stood at $15.747 billion.

The US dollar’s exchange rate remained stable on the domestic market, at around LL1,507.50. No Treasury bills were issued in Lebanese pounds last month. Bank interest rates on the Lebanese pound continued to fall.

The Lebanese pound average lending rate dropped from 13.52 percent in June to 12.96 percent in July, and the average deposit rate reached 3.54 percent during this month against 3.53 in June.

The report said the annual growth rate of money supply continued to rise because of significant capital inflows during the month, standing at 14.55 percent at end of July.

This growth was also affected by the rise in net claims on the pubic sector, while the drop in bank credit to the private sector was a slowing factor. The report also said that the consolidated balance sheet of commercial banks recorded a year-on-year growth of 17.14 percent.

Customer deposits increased annually by 14.97 percent and credits to the private sector by 0.42 percent. The dollarization rate of bank deposits fell from 67.35 percent at end of June to 66.83 percent at end of July.

Beirut 06-10-2003
Osama Habib
The Daily Star



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