| 3 March 2024, Sunday |

Lebanon’s pound plummets amid political deadlock

The Lebanese pound continued on Tuesday to plummet against the U.S. dollar on the black market, amid a months-long political deadlock and financial meltdown.

The pound is currently trading at 15,375/15,425 to the dollar.

Lebanon’s economic collapse is likely to rank among the world’s worst financial crises since the mid-19th century, the World Bank said in a damning report released two weeks ago.

The report predicts that Lebanon’s economy will shrink by close to 10% in 2021 and stresses there is “no clear turning point in the horizon”.

“The economic and financial crisis is likely to rank in the top 10, possibly top 3, most severe crisis episodes globally since the mid-nineteenth century,” the report added.

Lebanon’s Central Bank (BDL) had announced the launching of Sayrafa, an electronic platform that would allow commercial banks and licensed dealers to trade foreign currency at market rates, after several failed attempts to launch it.

The Central Bank governor Riad Salameh said the BDL will sell U.S. dollars to the Lebanese banks that participate in the Sayrafa platform at a rate of 12,000 LBP against the dollar, after previous reports expected the rate to be 10,000 LBP.

The pound had also hit 15,000 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 amid a severe economic and financial crisis that has threatened to destabilize the country.

  • Sawt Beirut International