Lebanon's financial sector losses between $68bn and $69bn, deputy PM says

Agreement on the loss figure is seen as a crucial first step for the country's government as it seeks to negotiate an IMF support programme

Minister of Finance Youssef Khalil and Deputy Prime Minister Saadeh Al-Shami at the presidential palace in Baabda, Lebanon.  Reuters
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Lebanese officials have agreed that losses in the country's financial sector amount to between $68 billion and $69 billion.

However, Deputy Prime Minister Saadeh Al-Shami said the figure was based on some assumptions that could change.

Agreement on the loss figure is considered to be a crucial first step for Lebanon's government as it seeks to negotiate an International Monetary Fund support programme.

Mr Shami told Reuters the figures were based on "some assumptions" and "if these assumptions change, the size of the losses changes as well". He declined to elaborate further.

Disagreements over the scale of losses between Lebanon's central bank, commercial banks and government had last year led to a breakdown in negotiations to secure an IMF programme, considered as key to begin lifting Lebanon out of its worst crisis since the civil war between 1975 and 1990.

The $68bn to $69bn figure is the same gross figure presented by the government then.

Prime Minister Najib Mikati has said he is seeking to sign an agreement with the IMF by the end of the year.

Updated: December 15, 2021, 11:38 AM
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