Lebanese pound in free fall after Hariri quits, hits 23,000 to dollar

A money exchange office in Beirut, March 2, 2021. (The Daily Star/Mohamad Azakir)

BEIRUT: The free-falling Lebanese pound sank to another record low Friday, trading at 23,250 to the dollar, a day after former Prime Minister Saad Hariri gave up trying to form a new government.

Exchange dealers said they were selling the dollar for LL23,500 and buying it for LL23,000, compared to LL20,200-LL20,100 a day earlier.

Hariri said Thursday that he decided to step down after President Michel Aoun rejected his new Cabinet lineup of 24 nonpartisan specialists to rescue the crises-ridden country.

The pound was trading at around 14,000 to the dollar some five weeks ago, but it sunk to many record lows in just a few weeks as citizens deal with worsening living conditions with supplies of fuel, electricity, medicines and foods running low.

Since late 2019 the local currency has lost over 90 percent of its value on the black market, which has surged inflation levels and caused dramatic price hikes. As a result over half of Lebanon’s population has been pushed into poverty, with UNICEF recently reporting that as many as 77 percent of households do not have enough food or money to buy food.





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