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Research Announcement:

Moody's - Lebanese banks’ outlook stable on deposit inflows and economic growth

22 March 2019

Limassol, March 22, 2019 --

- Stable outlook for banks assumes slightly higher economic growth and deposit inflows

- Any negative political developments are a key risk for banks

The outlook for Lebanon's banking system is stable thanks to expectations of deposit inflows and slightly increased economic growth, Moody's Investors Service says in a report published today.

"The new government, formed in January, provides some respite from months of investor and depositor uncertainty," said Alexios Philippides, AVP-Analyst at Moody's. "We believe that despite a recent slowdown in deposit growth, inflows will be sufficient to allow banks to finance the government and the economy, provided that the new government implements reforms to bolster confidence."

The next 12 to 18 months will be a transition period when operating conditions for banks will remain challenging and dependent of the government's ability to implement highly anticipated fiscal and economic reforms. Failure to implement reforms will further compound recent pressures, and wide fiscal and current account deficits will be key structural issues in the interim.

Banks' profitability will be under pressure because of higher funding costs, subdued new business and higher provisioning charges (from low levels). They will seek to mitigate these challenges through cost control and growth abroad. Political developments affecting the pace of economic reform and depositor confidence are a key risk for Lebanese banks. The banks' large sovereign exposure remains their main source of financial risk.

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS ONLY: For more information, please call one of our global press information hotlines: New York +1-212-553-0376, London +44-20-7772-5456, Tokyo +813-5408-4110, Hong Kong +852-3758-1350, Sydney +61-2-9270-8141, Mexico City 001-888-779-5833, São Paulo 0800-891-2518, or Buenos Aires 0800-666-3506. You can also email us at mediarelations@moodys.com or visit our web site at www.moodys.com.

This publication does not announce a credit rating action. For any credit ratings referenced in this publication, please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for the most updated credit rating action information and rating history.

Alexios Philippides
AVP-Analyst
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Cyprus Ltd.
JOURNALISTS : 44 20 7772 5456
Client Service : 44 20 7772 5454

Henry MacNevin
Associate Managing Director
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
JOURNALISTS : 44 20 7772 5456
Client Service : 44 20 7772 5454

Releasing Office :
Moody's Investors Service Cyprus Ltd.
Porto Bello Building
1, Siafi Street, 3042 Limassol
PO Box 53205
Limassol, CY 3301
Cyprus
JOURNALISTS : 44 20 7772 5456
Client Service : 44 20 7772 5454

© 2019 Moody’s Corporation, Moody’s Investors Service, Inc., Moody’s Analytics, Inc. and/or their licensors and affiliates (collectively, “MOODY’S”). All rights reserved.

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