Lebanese official says steps needed after rating downgraded

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BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon’s finance minister says a report by Moody’s Investors Service that downgraded the country’s long-term investment ratings reflects the need for quickly forming a new government and implementing reforms.

The statement by Ali Hassan Khalil came in a tweet Tuesday after Moody’s downgraded the Lebanon’s issuer ratings to Caa1 from B3. The outlook was changed to stable from negative.

Moody’s said its decision reflects the heightened risk that the government’s response to increased liquidity and financial stability risks will include “a debt rescheduling or other liability management exercise that may constitute a default under Moody’s definition.”

Lebanon’s economy has been under pressure with a debt of $85 billion equal to 150 percent of its GDP and little growth.

Making things worse, the country has been without a government since May.

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