Governor of the Central Bank of Lebanon
Beirut – Georges Chahine
The Finance Ministry succeeded in raising about $765 US million in order to issue 10-year treasury bills, in Lebanese lira, with an interest rate of 8.24%.
By the end of last July, T-bills in Lebanese currency were in high demand
, especially by the local banks with a liquidity surplus of 77.86%, according to Riad Salama, Governor of the Central Bank of Lebanon.
This led to an improvement of banks’ interest margins after a decline in their shares during the last period.
However, most of the Lebanese banks have refrained from subscribing to the short- and medium-term T-bills because because the yields on them are too small and therefore not very appealing to investors and lenders.
The move is reflected in the increase of the Central Bank’s share of the public debt from 23% in 2009 to 27% in 2010, and 31.6% last July against the decrease in the Lebanese banks’ shares from 60.7% in 2009 to 56.4% in 2010 and 51.7% last July.
In a related move, Governor Salama also said that the Finance Ministry is expected to issue 10-year treasury bills in foreign currency by next October.
The total share of the Lebanese state of the internal debt for 2013 is estimated to be $ 8.5 US billion, of which $6.6 US billion is local debt and more than $1.6 US billion is foreign debt.
Lebanese banks demanded the necessary reforms to reduce budget deficit and public debt.