Ratings agency S&P on 1 March downgraded its outlook for Lebanon from ‘stable’ to ‘negative’ on its B- long-term credit rating for the country, six notches below investment grade. The country’s outlook is looking ever more precarious: S&P’s latest move follows a downgrade by Moody’s in January (MEES, 25 January). Given Lebanon recently formed a new cabinet (MEES, 1 February), this outlook plunge hurts a lot worse.

In spite of persistent fiscal and monetary problems (MEES, 21 December 2018), most experts thought the formation of a government would substantially improve Lebanon’s outlook – an assumption S&P has called into question citing its “lack of material reforms to reduce the budget deficit” despite the formation of a government which will “support financing needs.” (CONTINUED - 166 WORDS)