Lebanon's finance minister denies report of planned debt restructuring

BEIRUT, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- Lebanese caretaker Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil said Sunday that Lebanon will not restructure its debt, the National News Agency reported.

"Restructuring Lebanon's debt is not on the table at all. What is being discussed is a commitment to the reforms included in the 2018 state budget and the CEDRE conference," Khalil told reporters after a meeting at Baabda Palace chaired by President Michel Aoun and attended by Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri.

The meeting came after a local newspaper quoted Khalil as saying that the finance ministry is planning to restructure the country's public debt, which created confusion and worry among the Lebanese.

A sovereign default is the failure or refusal of the government of a sovereign state to pay back its debt in full.

If potential lenders or bond purchasers start to suspect that a government may fail to pay back its debt, they may demand for a high interest rate in compensation for the risk of default.

Lebanon's economy is saddled with one of the world's highest debt-to-GDP ratios as a result of recurring and widening fiscal deficits and economic slowdown.

The political mayhem gripping Lebanon is not helping the country fight corruption and introduce reforms needed to contain spending that has increased tremendously after the wages hike for the public sector last year which is partly financed by an increase in various taxes.

[ Editor: Zhang Zhou ]
 

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