| 7 December 2023, Thursday |

Lebanon’s pound continues to tumble against U.S. dollar

The Lebanese pound has continued to tumble against the U.S. dollar on the black market, after the Central Bank (BDL) failed to launch a long-awaited platform that would allow commercial banks and licensed dealers to trade foreign currency at market rates.

The pound was trading late on Tuesday at roughly 12,700 against the dollar. The end of last week saw very little fluctuations in the rate of the local currency which started dwindling on Monday amid a lack of strict measures to control the devaluation.

The BDL platform, which was due to be launched on Monday (April 26), aimed to help maintain some order on the market and allow the Central Bank to have a degree of control over supply and demand of foreign currency.

The pound has fluctuated mainly within a 12,000-12,600 band to the dollar this month after hitting a record low of 15,100 in March on the collapse of efforts to form a new cabinet that would promptly enact economic reforms and begin negotiations with international financial organizations.

The local currency has lost nearly 85% of its value over the past 18 months amid a severe economic and financial meltdown that has threatened to destabilize the country.

Crushed under a mountain of debt, Lebanon is grappling with a financial crisis that has wiped out jobs, raised warnings of growing hunger and locked people out of their bank deposits.

Political leaders have failed to agree a rescue plan since the crisis, rooted in decades of state graft, erupted in late 2019 as dollar inflows dried up.