Lebanon s Central Bank building in Beirut, Friday, March 16, 2018. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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Despite the increase, the interest rates on dollar deposits in Lebanon average between 3.5 and 4 percent, compared to less than 2 percent in the U.S.The interest rates on Lebanese pound deposits remained higher than dollar deposits by an average 2 percentage points in order to encourage customers to stick to the national currency.Some Lebanese banks are even offering up to 11 percent interest on Lebanese pound deposits for those over LL1.5 billion ($1 million) with a minimum maturity of one year.However, some small Lebanese banks are now offering close to 9 percent interest on three-year certificates of deposit in U.S. dollars and more than 11 percent on Lebanese pound accounts.Leading banks argue that raising interest rates on dollar deposits to 9 percent may be counterproductive in the long run.
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