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Tuesday, 07 July 2020

Lebanon seeking $4bln-$5bln in loans for wheat, fuel, medicine: Finance minister

Reuters , Thursday 23 Jan 2020
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Lebanon is looking to secure $4 billion to $5 billion in soft loans from international donors to finance purchases of wheat, fuel and medicines, Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star cited Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni as saying on Thursday.

Lebanon formed a new cabinet on Tuesday, which it hopes can restore confidence and secure urgently needed funding from foreign donors amid a deep financial crisis.

"We will ask the international donors to provide Lebanon with $4 billion to $5 billion in soft loans to finance the purchasing of wheat, fuel oil and pharmaceuticals," said Wazni.

"This injection will cover the country's needs for one year and will also help reduce the run on the U.S. dollar," he added.

An acute dollar shortage has prompted banks to impose controls on withdrawals and transfers, hit the Lebanese pound and fuelled inflation.

Prime Minister Hassan Diab was set to meet several foreign ambassadors on Thursday as the heavily indebted country looks to rally support. It must decide on how to deal with maturing Eurobonds, including a $1.2 billion bond due in March.

Lebanon won pledges exceeding $11 billion at an international conference in 2018, conditional on reforms that it has so far failed to implement.

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