| 18 May 2024, Saturday |

Lebanon’s pound tumbles amid financial meltdown

The Lebanese pound plummeted against the U.S. dollar on the black market Friday, amid a months-long financial meltdown and a failure to form a new government.

The pound is currently trading at 12,575/12,625 to the dollar after the local currency’s rate had seen very little fluctuations on reports that a new monetary platform could be launched soon.

Lebanon’s Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh on Tuesday sent a letter to caretaker Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni concerning the launching of Sayrafa platform, MTV reported.

The platform will become operational next Monday, sources said, noting that one U.S. dollar will be equal to 10,000 Lebanese pounds under the platform, “which will automatically cause the USD exchange rate to dwindle on the black market.”

The Central Bank (BDL) has repeatedly failed to launch the long-awaited platform that would allow commercial banks and licensed dealers to trade foreign currency at market rates.

The BDL platform, which was lately 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 had hit a record low of 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 over the past 18 months amid a severe economic and financial crisis that has threatened to destabilize the country.

  • Sawt Beirut International