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Lebanese Bonds Rally as Parliament Set to Resume, US Ready to Work With New Govt

Lebanese Bonds Rally as Parliament Set to Resume, US Ready to Work With New Govt

Thursday, 21 November, 2019 - 14:45
Demonstrators carry national flags during an anti-government protest in Tripoli, Lebanon October 21, 2019. REUTERS/Omar Ibrahim

Lebanon's dollar bonds rallied Thursday after parliament looked set to resume next week and US President Donald Trump said Washington was ready to work with a new Lebanese government.

Several Lebanese bonds made their biggest daily gains since early November.

The 2032 and 2030 issues both rose by 1.4 cents to 44 cents in the dollar, according to Tradeweb data, Reuters reported.

Bonds prices fell to record lows in recent weeks as anti-government protests brought the country to a political standstill following Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri's resignation Oct. 29.

Parliament has not sat in two months, and a session was postponed Tuesday due to protests.

However, parliament's speaker said Thursday that a session would take place next Wednesday.

Some financial market observers have said the record low bond prices indicate the country may have to default on or restructure some of its debt.

"The problem in Lebanon is reaching consensus and the political class reaching consensus and doing the right thing. Until you get the political class swept away and a new one comes into power I don't see an end game yet," said Richard House, chief investment officer, emerging market debt, at Allianz Global Investors.

The parliament session called by Speaker Nabih Berri is crucial to discuss draft legislation on banking secrecy and returning stolen state funds.

According to Reuters, the market also benefited after Trump told Lebanese President Michael Aoun in a cable that the United States would work with a new Lebanese government that responds to the needs of its people.

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