The Lebanese pound has plummeted against the U.S. dollar on the black market Tuesday, 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 on Monday morning at roughly 12,200 against the dollar at the beginning of a week that saw very little fluctuations in the rate of the local currency. But that rate dwindled to 12,500 later in the day amid a lack of strict measures to control the devaluation.
The BDL platform, which was due to be launched on 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 crisis that has threatened to destabilize the country.