| 20 May 2024, Monday |

Lebanon’s pound slides to new lows amid financial meltdown

The Lebanese pound currency fell to new lows on Saturday with exchange rates of 10,150/10,200 pounds against the dollar on the black market.

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.

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.

The new surge in the U.S. dollar exchange rate prompted citizens from all regions to flock to the streets on Tuesday, venting their anger at the deteriorating living conditions by burning tires and blocking roads across the entire country.

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, which fell to 10,000 to the dollar on Tuesday, has slashed about 85% of its value in a country relying heavily on imports.

The decline was the last straw for many who have seen prices of consumer goods such as diapers or cereals nearly triple since the crisis erupted.