Lebanon Banks Asked to Boost Capital to Ease Growing Pressure

Lebanon’s central bank asked local lenders to raise their capital by 20% in the next year, the state-run National News Agency reported, to boost their liquidity and prepare for possible downgrades in credit ratings, Bloomberg News reported. The Banque du Liban said raising capital by $4 billion would help banks “confront the current situation and any future developments particularly in the face of a possible credit downgrade,” the news agency said. Thousands of protesters have been on the streets for weeks, demanding the resignation of a political class they say has pillaged state coffers to the verge of bankruptcy while leaving the public with failing services. The protests prompted the resignation last week of Prime Minister Saad Hariri. A replacement has yet to be named, raising concerns the country will be unable to implement measures needed to avert economic crisis. Read more