Four thousand U.S. dollars are counted out by a banker counting currency at a bank in Westminster, Colorado November 3, 2009. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
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Amid the clothing and jewelry shops along an upmarket street in Benghazi is another kind of emporium.The central bank forbade the trade to protect dwindling currency reserves – down to $68 billion this month from $110 billion in 2013 .Rates fluctuate by region, but were as high as four dinars to the dollar earlier this month as the chances of an oil-price revival fell and conflict between Libya's factions intensified. The average this month is about 3.8 dinars to the dollar, more than twice the official rate of about 1.37 dinars. The audit committee said 51 empty containers were found in the city's port last year, plus 118 in Tripoli and 139 at Misrata.The central bank – which is based in Tripoli but still has two chains of authority, one in the capital and the other in the east – has tried to clamp down, but there's no real way to punish violators in the absence of a functioning judiciary. There are 10 black market money shops on Dubai Street, owned by six families, and the newest one opened just this year.
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