Lebanese pound drops as political stalemate persists

Exchange dealers were selling the dollar for LL8,950 and buying it for LL8,850

  
A man counts Lebanese pounds at a currency exchange shop in Beirut, Lebanon October 1, 2020.

A man counts Lebanese pounds at a currency exchange shop in Beirut, Lebanon October 1, 2020.

REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

BEIRUT: The Lebanese pound began the new week down against the dollar Monday, trading at LL8,900 on the black market, as a political stalemate and the COVID-19 pandemic threatened to exasperate the country's deep financial and economic crises.

Exchange dealers were selling the dollar for LL8,950 and buying it for LL8,850, compared to LL8,900-LL8,800 Saturday.

While currency traders said the demand for the greenback declined as the country went under a stringent lockdown Thursday, set to last until Jan. 25, speculation that the deadlock over formation of a new government was set to last weeks if not months meant pressure on the pound would continue.

Dwindling Central Bank foreign currency reserves and capital controls by commercial banks have forced many importers to seek dollars from the black market to pay foreign exporters for goods.

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