BEIRUT: Lebanon’s pound currency was little changed on the black market Friday, trading at roughly 12,200 against the dollar at the end of a week that saw very little fluctuations in the rate of the local currency.
Exchange dealers attributed the rare black market stability to several speculators adopting a wait-and-see approach to an expected Central Bank (BDL) announcement on launching a platform that allows commercial banks and licensed dealers to trade foreign currency at market rates.
The platform, if successful, would 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.
Bankers told The Daily Star the Central Bank has started training some of their staff on how to use the platform but they had yet to be informed when it would go live. Initially, bankers were expecting it to be launched on April 26 but were still waiting for a BDL circular on the start date.
On Friday morning, exchange dealers were buying the greenback for 12,150 LBP and selling it for 12,250 LBP.
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.