The eurobonds were swapped for an equivalent amount of Lebanese pound T-bills from the central bank.
BEIRUT- Lebanon carried out a debt swap with the central bank, issuing $1 billion through a 2031 eurobond with a 7.15 percent coupon rate and $700 million through a 2028 issue with a 7.00 percent coupon rate, a finance ministry official told Reuters on Monday. The eurobonds were swapped for an equivalent amount of Lebanese pound T-bills from the central bank in a transaction that had been planned before Lebanon entered a political crisis on Nov. 4 when Saad al-Hariri resigned as prime minister. urn:newsml:reuters.com:*:nL8N1NJ73G The Ministry of Finance said in a separate statement the exchange changed the composition, not the stock of debt, extending the maturity of 2 percent of total debt stock by an average of 10.27 years. It said 40 percent of Lebanon's debt is now in foreign currency and 60 percent in local currency, meeting the ministry's targets. The exchange also strengthened the central bank's foreign currency reserves, the statement said. Years of political problems in Lebanon have prevented the government making necessary reforms, leaving the central bank to play the key role in maintaining economic stability. Hariri's resignation more than two weeks ago from Saudi Arabia thrust Lebanon to the forefront of a regional struggle for influence between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and raised concerns for an economy that relies heavily on remittances from Lebanese working in Gulf Arab countries. The ministry said 2,562 billion Lebanese pounds worth of T-Bills were redeemed for the $1.7 billion in eurobonds. The T-Bills had maturity dates between 2018 and 2025, and around 2,000 billion pounds were due to mature over the next two years. (Reporting by Lisa Barrington; Editing by Toby Chopra) ((firstname.lastname@example.org; +961)(0)(1954456;))