Crisis-hit Lebanese pound falls to new low of 10,000 to the dollar

The collapse, on a scale Lebanon has never seen, has slashed about 85% of the currency's value

  
A man holds Lebanese pounds next to U.S. dollar banknotes at a currency exchange shop in Beirut, Lebanon April 24, 2020.

A man holds Lebanese pounds next to U.S. dollar banknotes at a currency exchange shop in Beirut, Lebanon April 24, 2020.

REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

BEIRUT- Lebanon's pound tumbled on Tuesday towards 10,000 to the dollar, a record low for a currency battered by a financial meltdown that has fuelled poverty and unrest.

The collapse, on a scale Lebanon has never seen, has slashed about 85% of the currency's value in a country relying heavily on imports. Prices of many consumer goods such as diapers or cereal have tripled.

Political leaders have failed to agree a rescue plan since the crisis erupted in late 2019 as dollar inflows dried up and protests gripped the country.

The cost of scarce dollars hit 10,000 Lebanese pounds on Tuesday, said two currency dealers on the informal market, a main source of cash since banks stopped dispensing dollars. Three other dealers said the greenback traded at 9,900.

That would make Lebanon's minimum monthly wage worth about $68.

The currency last touched lows close to 10,000 in the summer of 2020, sparking a string of protests weeks before the huge August port blast that devastated much of Beirut.

(Reporting by Ellen Francis; Editing by Alex Richardson) ((Ellen.Francis@thomsonreuters.com;))

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