Zambia Sticks to External-Debt Numbers Even as It's Questioned

(Bloomberg) -- Zambia is sticking to its foreign-debt figures even as analysts raise concerns that the nation’s obligations may be higher.

The country had $8.7 billion in external loans at the end of 2017, a 26 percent increase from the previous year, according to a statement from the Finance Ministry sent via text message Friday. That reiterates the number the government announced last week, while analysts at lenders including Bank of America Merrill Lynch flagged that the debt could be higher than the official figures.

The statement, which provides a breakdown of the debt and calculates total external government debt to be 34 percent of gross domestic product at Dec. 31, is preliminary and a reconciliation exercise is still ongoing.

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