SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 23 September 2021, Thursday |

Lebanon’s pound tumbles over stalled cabinet talks

The Lebanese pound continued to tumble on Tuesday with exchange rates of 14,100/14,300 pounds against the U.S. dollar on the black market.

The pound was traded, on Monday morning, at 11,400/11,600 to the dollar but it began sliding following a meeting between President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister-Designate Saad Hariri who failed to reach any breakthrough over the formation of a new government.

Following the 18th meeting they held, Aoun and Hariri traded accusations publicly on Monday with each leader releasing a document in proof of his claims, as the country plunges into a dangerous economic crisis.

Meanwhile, numerous shops and supermarkets across the country have locked their doors as they are unable to keep pace with the fluctuating prices of commodities in light of the spiraling USD exchange rate.

The new slump in the pound, which had hit 10,000 per one dollar two weeks ago, broke a semi-stable margin of around 8,000/8,500 LBP against USD, prompting citizens to block roads with burning tires, venting their anger at the deteriorating economic situation.

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.

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.

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.