| 7 December 2023, Thursday |

Stability of black-market dollar … What will happen after subsidy removal?

The black market dollar recorded in morning trading 12,200 pounds for sale at the cashier, and 12,400 pounds per dollar, while yesterday it was at an average of 12,275 pounds per dollar. To settle at the level it closed on at the weekend.

Lebanon suffers from a severe economic and financial crisis as a result of waste and corruption in state institutions over the past years, which led to an increase in the poverty rate to more than 50%.

Lebanese banks set the price of 3,850 pounds to the dollar, when withdrawing the dollar to small depositors a while ago, and it is still in force today.

The Syndicate of Money Changers in Lebanon confirmed the pricing of the dollar exchange rate against the Lebanese pound with a moving margin between the price of 3,850 pounds for purchase and 3,900 pounds for sale, as a maximum.

The exchange rate of the dollar at the Central Bank of Lebanon remained at 1507.5 pounds per one dollar, and it is allocated for basic commodities only.

In a related context, entering the stage of lifting subsidies without a clear plan, and without an organized project to unify multiple exchange rates, in the coming stage, it will only mean inflaming the Lebanese with inflation fire , which will be caused by the insane rise in the exchange rate, that will result from the lifting of subsidies. The Banque du Liban allocated , during the last stage, nearly half a billion dollars a month to support imports.

Raising subsidies on basic materials would practically mean transferring the demand for dollars to import these commodities into the parallel market, and unleashing more of the madness in the dollar price in the markets. The Minister of Finance estimated the expected rate of inflation this year, as a result of the subsidy removal, at 77%.

However, this ratio takes into account the rise in basic commodity prices only after the lifting of the subsidy, and does not take into account the rise in market prices resulting from the expected pressure on the exchange rate. As for the actual rate of inflation, it will be open to all possibilities, in the absence of any limits to the value of the expected decline in the exchange rate of the Lebanese pound.

On Tuesday evening, the dollar exchange rate closed at a rate fluctuating between 12,400 and 12,450 Lebanese pounds per US dollar on the black market.

Sawt Beirut International