Lebanese pound is and will remain stable, central bank head says

Lebanese pound is and will remain stable, central bank head says
Central Bank of Lebanon

The Lebanese pound is stable and will remain so, central bank Governor Riad Salameh said on Thursday after meeting President Michel Aoun, according to a statement sent by the Lebanese Presidency.

"The Lebaneselira (pound) is stable and will remain stable and the central bank will supporthousing loans and (loans) for the productive sectors," Salameh said at thepresidential palace in Baabda.

The Lebanese poundhas been pegged against the U.S. dollar at its current level for more than twodecades.

Lebanon has one ofthe world's heaviest public debt burdens, and its finance minister has said hewill introduce "wide reductions" in spending.

"We hope thebudget will be at the level which the market hopes for," the statementquoted Salameh as saying.

He said he had confirmed to Aoun that the pound was sound and stable, and that the bank had all the capacity needed to keep it so.

Lebanon's netforeign assets stand at $38.56 billion. It has public debt equivalent to about150 percent of gross domestic product.

Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, whose coalition government is preparing a state budget expected to include spending cuts, last month said he wanted "to protect the pound".

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