Lebanon:  Remaining under severe bond-market scrutiny

Lebanon: Remaining under severe bond-market scrutiny

December 19 2019

At the end of November, Banque du Liban (the central bank) paid USD1.5bn on behalf of the Lebanese government to cover the principal of a maturing Eurobond. This bought the country some time as speculation has risen over its ability to avoid its first-ever debt default amid an ongoing political and economic crisis. The next bond repayment is scheduled for March 2020, when a USD1.2bn Eurobond comes due, and it is likely that it will be served as well. But investor confidence is currently low that bond redemptions due in the following years will be served in full. A bond maturing in April 2021 is currently priced at around USD58; and bonds due in 2022 or later are below USD50. What’s more, according to an IMF report, Lebanon has issued about USD15bn of international bonds since October 2014 without collective action clauses, which would leave the country exposed to holdout litigation on these bonds in the event it seeks debt restructuring.

Senior Economist for Emerging Europe and the Middle East