IMF in Talks with Lebanon, Calls to Address Financial Losses

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Lebanese authorities have started technical discussions to pull the country out of its crisis, a senior IMF official said, stressing the need to address the losses faced by the financial sector, Reuters reported. An IMF programme is widely seen as the only way Lebanon can unlock foreign financial help which it desperately needs to emerge from one of the world's sharpest economic depressions. Lebanon's Prime Minister Najib Mikati has requested assistance from the Washington-based crisis lender and technical discussions have started, Jihad Azour, director of the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia Department, told Reuters. "Last time we had a full update of the situation goes back to August 2020, before the resignation of the previous government, and therefore many things have happened and we need to update the numbers, have a new baseline," he said. Lebanon defaulted on its international debt in March last year, after years of political upheaval and economic mismanagement left it unable to service a debt burden that Goldman Sachs last month estimated at over 300% of GDP at current market exchange rates. Read more.