Lebanon has seen on Thursday a slight improvement in the U.S. dollar exchange rate as the Lebanese pound rose to 12,900 against the dollar on the black market.
This comes after local media said Lebanese President Michel Aoun has scheduled prime minister-designate Saad Hariri’s visit to the Baabda Palace at 3:00 p.m. today amid reports that the two top leaders will revive efforts to form a new government.
The pound tumbled to 15,000 to the dollar on Tuesday, losing a third of its value in the last 2 weeks.
Although the pound has slightly improved today compared to Tuesday’s all-time low record, there are still concerns that it might face further devaluation in the coming weeks if no solution is found to the various crises.
Meanwhile, several shops and supermarkets across the country have closed as they are unable to keep pace with the fluctuating prices of commodities in light of the spiraling USD exchange rate.
Shops in Sidon’s market closed on Tuesday and placed small stickers on their doors which read “it’s closed because we don’t want 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 economic situation.
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 comes amid mounting divisions between politicians and while prime minister-designate Saad Hariri remains at loggerheads with President Michel Aoun over the formation of a new government.