Lebanese pound rises as PM designation secured

Black market exchangers were selling the dollar for LL7,400 and buying it for around LL7,300

  
A woman counts U.S. dollar banknotes as Lebanese pounds are pictured in the background at a currency exchange shop in Beirut, Lebanon April 3, 2020.

A woman counts U.S. dollar banknotes as Lebanese pounds are pictured in the background at a currency exchange shop in Beirut, Lebanon April 3, 2020.

REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

BEIRUT: The Lebanese pound maintained its rise against the dollar Thursday, trading at around LL7,350 on the black market as Future Movement head Saad Hariri was designated prime minister, tasked with forming a government to pull the country out of its deepest crisis since the 1975-1990 Civil War.

Black market exchangers were selling the dollar for LL7,400 and buying it for around LL7,300. The pound has been steadily rising since Tuesday, when it traded for LL7,450, marking a significant gain from LL7,800 in recent days as binding parliamentary consultations neared. The pound was trading at around LL7,400 on the black market Wednesday.

After being designated, Hariri will be expected to form a government that can steer Lebanon out of crisis after being sucked into a 73-day political vacuum that started following caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab’s resignation over the deadly Beirut Port blast.

Lebanon in the meantime has been sinking further into crisis, left without a fully functioning government that can manage the COVID-19 pandemic, stall Lebanon's financial collapse and respond to the social catastrophe caused by the port explosion.

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