Lebanese pound holds at 10,000 to the dollar

Exchange dealers were buying the greenback for LL9,950 and those few dealers who were willing to sell it did so at LL10,000

  
A man counts U.S. dollar banknotes next to Lebanese pounds at a currency exchange shop in Beirut, Lebanon December 7, 2020.

A man counts U.S. dollar banknotes next to Lebanese pounds at a currency exchange shop in Beirut, Lebanon December 7, 2020.

REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

BEIRUT: The Lebanese pound held at the 10,000 resistance point against the dollar in the black market Wednesday, a day after the currency's plunge sparked nationwide protests.

Exchange dealers were buying the greenback for LL9,950 and those few dealers who were willing to sell it did so at LL10,000. The pound traded at LL9,800-LL10,000 Tuesday, a record low.

Crushed under a mountain of debt, Lebanon is grappling with a financial crisis that has wiped out jobs, raised warnings of growing hunger and locked people out of their bank deposits. The collapse of the pound has slashed about 85 percent of its value in a country relying heavily on imports and made Lebanon's minimum wage worth about $68 a month.

The decline was the last straw for many who have seen prices of consumer goods such as diapers or cereals nearly triple since the crisis erupted.

Protesters shut down a main highway out of the capital Beirut and the airport road. People took to the streets in other cities as well after the cost of scarce dollars hit 10,000 Lebanese pounds on the informal market.

Political leaders have failed to agree on a rescue plan since the crisis, rooted in decades of state graft, erupted in late 2019 as dollar inflows dried up.

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