June 24, 2019 / 11:56 AM / 25 days ago

UPDATE 1-Lebanon must send message "of seriousness" by approving budget -finmin

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BEIRUT, June 24 (Reuters) - Lebanon’s finance minister said on Monday it was important the government send a “clear message of seriousness” in the coming days by approving the 2019 state budget that aims to slash the deficit.

The budget, approved by cabinet last month, is being debated in parliament and aims to narrow the projected deficit to 7.6% of GDP from 11.5% last year.

Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil, in comments to Reuters, also said an International Monetary Fund mission had arrived in Lebanon to prepare an Article IV report on the financial and monetary situation in the country.

“The report should be complete before the middle of July and it is a fundamental juncture with a great effect on assessing the situation and its stability, and Lebanon’s rating by the concerned institutions,” he said. (Reporting by Laila Bassam Writing by Tom Perry Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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