| 26 May 2024, Sunday |

Lebanon’s pound drops to 12,400 against U.S. dollar as shops shut

The Lebanese pound currency dropped on Monday to an all-time low with exchange rates of 12,300/12,400 pounds against the U.S. dollar on the black market.

The pound was traded yesterday evening at a rate hovering between 12,200 and 12,400 to the dollar.

Shops in Sidon’s market closed early Monday and placed small stickers on their doors which read “it’s closed because we’re not willing to raise prices.”

The new slump in the pound, which had hit 10,000 LBP last week, broke a semi-stable margin of around 8,000/8,500 LBP against USD, prompting citizens to block roads with burning tires, venting their anger at the deteriorating living conditions.

The pound remains pegged to the dollar at 1,507.5, but that rate fixed by the central bank remains available only for imports of wheat, medicine and fuel.

Lebanese banks had raised the exchange rate from 1,507.5 to 3,850 pounds per dollar for withdrawals from U.S. dollar accounts as a liquidity crunch erodes the currency’s value.

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.

The collapse of the Lebanese pound which has slashed about 85% of its value comes amid mounting divisions between politicians and while prime minister-designate Saad Hariri remains at loggerheads with President Michel Aoun.