This week saw a blow to Lebanon’s economic reform efforts. First, the finance ministry quietly released full 2018 public finance stats. These revealed that the government ran a stonking LL£8.475 trillion ($5.8bn) deficit in 2018 – its largest in history – on the back of record spending of $16.4bn and poor revenue collection. This puts the deficit-to-GDP ratio at some 11.5%. The government had originally budgeted for a $4.8bn deficit (MEES, 16 March 2018).

Just a day later, Riad Salameh Governor of Banque du Liban (BdL, the country’s central bank) and the country’s most important economic authority, told attendees at the Euromoney Lebanon conference in Beirut that Lebanon’s economy hasn’t grown this year. (CONTINUED - 689 WORDS)