Lebanon News

Exchange rate around LL1,660 as banks open

A man counts Lebanese pounds at an exchange shop, in Beirut, Aug. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

BEIRUT: Beirut exchange shops on Friday were selling dollars at an average rate of around LL1,660 and buying them for around LL1,610, multiple exchange shop clerks said.

A Daily Star survey of five exchange dealers found that the highest rate at which they sold dollars was LL1,670, with the lowest at LL1,650, while all but one bought dollars at LL1,610.

The selling rate was some LL150 higher than the official peg of around LL1,507.5. The 22-year old peg has come under increasing pressure due to a dollar liquidity crisis that stems in part from a slowdown in remittances, and is also linked to a near-decade-old slump in economic growth.

Fears over the economy have increased in the past two weeks as banks remained closed amid unprecedented protests across the country that led Prime Minister Saad Hariri to resign earlier this week. The banks reopened Friday, with many putting in place controls on the amount of dollars that clients could withdraw from their accounts.

 

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