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Mon 2 Mar 2009 09:14 PM

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Lebanon to complete forex refinancing

Debt roll-over to refinance short-term foreign currency obligations expected by mid-March.

Lebanon expects to complete by mid-March a debt roll-over to refinance foreign currency obligations maturing in 2009, with the new bonds offering interest rates from 7.5 to 9 percent, Lebanon's central bank governor told Reuters on Monday.Lebanon has $2.6 billion worth of foreign currency debt coming due this year and has chosen three banks to lead the refinancing, which was previously expected to be completed sometime this week.

"The interest rates will be in line with what is being practiced today in the secondary market.

''As you know the credit default swap of Lebanon has been stable and may be the most stable among emerging countries, so we are looking at 7.5 percent for three years and around 9 percent for eight years," Salameh said in an interview with Reuters Television.

Lebanon has appointed Credit Suisse, Byblos Bank and Credit Libanais to act as advisors.

The nation's public debt, which stood at some $47 billion at the end of 2008 and is equivalent to roughly 170 percent of gross domestic product, remains a strain on the economy. (Reuters)

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