BEIRUT: The price of wheat, fuel and medical supplies will remain pegged at the official exchange rate of LL1,500, Lebanon’s Central Bank Gov. Riad Salameh said in televised news conference Tuesday evening.
“We have a vision to unify all exchange rates,” Salameh said, adding that “the exchange rate of LL1,500 remains in effect for fuel, wheat and medicines.”
“The Central Bank will try to standardize prices that exceed the exchange rate of LL3,900 to the dollar. This applies to exchangers, importers and Banque du Liban,” Salameh said.
The governor stressed that the Central Bank had no relationship with the black market.
“There are two markets we work with. The exchange market and the official market, and the source of funds for support are from the Banque du Liban reserves, and we have $20 billion,” he said.
“What matters to the Central Bank is the interest of Lebanon in coordination with the government and Parliament,” he added.
Salameh’s comments come after Prime Minister Hassan Diab said earlier that his government would start an initiative to control food prices. Diab said the plan would address the crisis of high food prices and that “its results must be rapid, and the follow-up should be thorough and round the clock to prevent traders from distorting its target."
He added that people in the country would start to see results “within weeks” of the government’s recent efforts to rein in the economic collapse.”
Banque Du Liban Monday had outlined a plan to subsidize the cost of importing food. Importers of 280 food products will be able to purchase dollars at the rate of LL3,900 via banks.
BDL did not specify when the measures would be implemented this week but one day after the announcement the dollar was being brought for LL8,700 and sold for LL9,000.