The IMF on 4 March released a preliminary report on the Lebanese economy, expressing cautious satisfaction with the direction of movement. The Paris II donors’ conference in November last year, when international donors pledged $4,400 million in concessioanry loans, had created and reflected a climate of increased international confidence in the economy. ‘This improvement is evidenced by strong inflows of deposits into the banking system, lower dollarisation, a marked decline in interest rates and market spreads, a surplus in the balance of payments and a substantial further recovery of foreign exchange reserves by the central bank,’ said the study. However, it warned that for the central economic problem – the enormous public debt – to be tackled, privatisation would have to move forward and solid economic growth maintained. The delay in the auction of the two GSM licences was noted. The IMF is providing technical assistance to Beirut on managing the debt.