Lebanese pound up on new government hopes

Exchange dealers said they were buying the greenback for LL18,000 and selling it for LL18,100

  
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 LL18,050 against the dollar, on renewed hope that a new government could be formed soon.

Exchange dealers said they were buying the greenback for LL18,000 and selling it for LL18,100, compared to LL18,900-LL19,000 at close Tuesday.

The local currency hit a record low of LL23,500 against the dollar 10 days ago.

The national currency's gains came a day after Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati struck an upbeat note on the formation of a new Cabinet, citing “identical views” with President Michel Aoun on a solution to the political deadlock that for nearly a year has left crises-hit Lebanon without a fully functioning government.

Billionaire businessman and former Prime Minister Mikati Monday was designated to form a new Cabinet charged with implementing reforms, restarting negotiations with the International Monetary Fund over a rescue package and supervising next year's parliamentary elections.

The local currency has lost more than 90 percent of its value since late 2019 as the country plunged into its worst financial and economic crisis in modern times, pushing more than half the population below the poverty line.

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