Minister of Finance: Lebanon completes $ 5.5 billion debt swap wi

The government has completed a $ 5.5 billion debt swap with the central bank on Friday to issue dollar bonds against Lebanese treasury bills of the central bank, Lebanese Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil said.
Khalil added that the swap meant that the ministry "secured all its needs to re-finance the benefits in foreign currency and to serve the public debt in foreign currency until the end of 2018." The currency strengthened the dollar reserve of the central bank, the ministry said in a statement.
Lebanon is the third most populous country in the world after Japan and Greece, with the debt-to-GDP ratio reaching more than 150 percent. The International Monetary Fund said Lebanon could not continue a debt course and the government should take immediate action to support growth and reduce its budget deficit.
Khelil announced plans to swap debt for the first time at the end of March. Lebanon held parliamentary elections on May 6.
In exchange for dollar bonds, the Central Bank of Lebanon will subscribe to treasury bonds worth 8250 billion Lebanese pounds ($ 5.5 billion) issued by the Ministry of Finance for 3-10 years at an interest rate of 1 percent.
"This provides a debt service on the Treasury with a total net amount of about US $ 1.4 billion over the maturity period," the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry said it was looking forward to a time for another issue in world markets late this year or early 2019. (Prepared by Moataz Mohamed for the Arabic version 

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