$4 billion withdrawn from Lebanon banks over unrest

Lebanon suffers from high unemployment, little growth and one of world’s highest debt ratios


Nearly $4 billion have been withdrawn from banks since September amid protests against economic woes, the country’s caretaker economy minister said.

“The bank withdrawals were prompted by fears of the confusing economic situation in the country,” Mansour Bteish told Al-Jadeed TV on Sunday.

He said the central bank governor and commercial banks have been asked to reduce interest rates as part of measures to solve the economic crisis in the country.

“We have taken a decision to increase the capital of banks by about $2 billion before the end of 2019,” he said.

Lebanon has been rocked by mass protests since October against plans to increase taxes, which quickly turned into wider grievances.

The unrest has forced Prime Minister Saad Hariri to resign, with no progress toward reaching a deal on a new government.

Lebanon suffers from high unemployment, little growth and one of the highest debt ratios in the world, with the debt burden reaching $86.2 billion in the first quarter of 2019, according to the Ministry of Finance.

  • Bassel Barakat contributed to this report from Ankara
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