Lebanese pound down again, closing in on record low

Black market exchange dealers said they were buying the dollar for LL14,400 and selling it for LL14,500

  
A man wearing a face mask takes Lebanese pound banknotes at a currency exchange shop in Beirut, Lebanon April 24, 2020.

A man wearing a face mask takes Lebanese pound banknotes at a currency exchange shop in Beirut, Lebanon April 24, 2020.

REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

BEIRUT: The Lebanese pound fell again Wednesday, trading at LL14,450 against the dollar, a day after the Central Bank ordered banks to allow their customers with foreign currency accounts before late 2019 to withdraw $400 in fresh dollars and the equivalent of $400 in Lebanese pounds.

Black market exchange dealers said they were buying the dollar for LL14,400 and selling it for LL14,500, compared to an average LL13,950 Tuesday. The pound hit a record low of 15,100 to the dollar in March.

The Central Bank released Tuesday details of a plan to force banks to allow depositors with accounts active as of October 2019 to withdraw up to $400 a month plus the equivalent amount in local currency at the rate of the Sayrafa platform as of July 1. The Sayrafa current rate -- set by the Central Bank -- is LL12,000 to the dollar.

The Central Bank's move is said to considerably increase money supply in the market.

The pound has lost nearly 90 percent of its value over the past 20 months, with the crisis pushing some 55 percent of the population under the poverty line.

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