Lebanese pound off record low, 14,900 to dollar

The pound ended an eight-day losing streak, with traders selling the greenback for LL14,950 and buying it for LL14,850

  
Image used for illustrative purpose A man counts U.S. dollar banknotes next to Lebanese pounds at a currency exchange shop in Beirut, Lebanon October 1, 2020.

Image used for illustrative purpose A man counts U.S. dollar banknotes next to Lebanese pounds at a currency exchange shop in Beirut, Lebanon October 1, 2020.

REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

BEIRUT: The Lebanese pound rose on the black market Wednesday, trading at LL14,900 against the dollar, after a run of three record lows in three days.

The pound ended an eight-day losing streak, with traders selling the greenback for LL14,950 and buying it for LL14,850. It traded at an average of LL15,550 Tuesday, a record low.

Exchange dealers blamed some banks for the high demand for cash dollars on the black market over the past two weeks. They said those banks were buying dollars to enable them to implement a Central Bank circular that stipulates paying some cash dollars every month to depositors who had foreign currency accounts before October 2019.

Depositors, locked out of their dollar accounts since late 2019, have been promised some access starting July, with each customer getting $400 in cash and an equivalent in Lebanese pounds at a rate close to market value.

The latest plunge means the pound has lost more than 90 percent of its value on the informal market in past 20 months, in what the World Bank has called one of the worst financial crunches worldwide since the mid-19th century.

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