The Lebanese pound is trading on Friday at 12,200/12,250 against the U.S. dollar on the black market, amid a months-long cabinet stalemate and complete financial meltdown.
The pound has fluctuated mainly between 12,000-12,600 to the dollar over the last two weeks. It had hit a record low of 15,100 in March on the collapse of efforts to form a new government that would promptly enact economic reforms and begin negotiations with international financial organizations.
Banks have blocked access to dollar deposits, and poverty is spreading but fractious politicians have yet to launch a rescue plan that could allow foreign aid into the country and ward off further economic collapse.
Lebanon’s already dire predicament deepened last August when a blast at Beirut’s port devastated large parts of the city, killing at least 200 people and prompting Prime Minister Hassan Diab’s cabinet to resign. His designated successor, veteran politician Saad al-Hariri, remains at loggerheads with President Michel Aoun over cabinet lineup issues.
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.