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    2.5% growth expected for 2017: Salameh

    BEIRUT: Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh said Thursday that a growth rate of 2.5 percent could be expected for the Lebanese economy in 2017.
    In remarks made at the opening ceremony of the Union of Arab Banks’ annual conference, Salameh said that Lebanese markets would continue to be stable and calm, reflecting “positive growth despite difficult conditions in the region.”
    Recently returned Prime Minister Saad Hariri gave opening remarks at the event, saying he hoped the conference would showcase Lebanon’s stability, which he said was a primary concern.
    Hariri also reiterated the need for Lebanon to practice a policy of dissociation from regional conflicts “not just in words,” and thanked Salameh for his work at the helm of Lebanon’s Central Bank.
    “You saw the difficulties we went through, not just in the past weeks but in the past years, and here I want to point to [Salameh] … who was able, even in times where there were political differences, to maintain [the stability] of the [Lebanese pound,]” Hariri said.
    Fears for Lebanese markets were sparked recently by Hariri’s shock resignation announcement, broadcast on Nov. 4 from the Saudi capital Riyadh.
    After Hariri’s announcement, ratings agencies Moody’s and Fitch warned of the consequences a prolonged political crisis could exact on the Lebanese economy.
    In a Nov. 10 report, Fitch said political instability would “test the resilience of deposit growth and diaspora inflows into the Lebanese banking system, which are key to government funding.”
     The Daily Star

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