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 Economic Health
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2006 results positive despite tensions
Posted on: 3/5/2007 3:25:00 PM

Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh predicted on Friday that Lebanon's balance-of-payments surplus would exceed $2.5 billion at year end. Speaking to the Voice of Lebanon Radio, Salameh said the balance-of-payments surplus up to November of this year exceeded $2.9 billion.


"The results this year were relatively positive despite the political situation in the country," he added.


Salameh said the deposits of the banking sector grew by 7 percent to reach $63 billion.


"There has been a capital inflow into the country although some capital fled Lebanon in certain stages."


Salameh added that the Central Bank has sufficient gross foreign currency and gold reserves to weather any unforeseen problem.


According to the Central Bank, the gross foreign-currency reserves jumped to $13 billion this year from $12.5 billion in 2005.


Salameh said the Central Bank will maintain its monetary policy since it proved effective.


He also stressed the importance of the Paris III donor conference as it would inject badly needed cash into the country.


But he warned against further political division as it may hurt the economy, adding: "Any political consensus will surely reflect positively on the economy."


Salameh also expected interest rates worldwide to fall in 2007 and this will help the Lebanese economy. (The Daily Star)


2007 Presidency of the Council of Ministers. All Rights Reserved.
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