BEIRUT: The Lebanese pound surged 10 percent on the black market Friday, trading at LL20,150 against the dollar, after reports emerged a new government might finally be formed in the next two weeks.
Exchange dealers said in the afternoon they were buying the greenback for LL20,100 and selling it for LL20,200 after opening at LL21,400-LL21,500. The dollar traded at LL22,350-LL22,450 Thursday. The local currency hit a record low of 23,500 last week.
The pound's rise was attributed to reports that the country's nearly 1-year-old government crisis might be over soon with former Prime Minister Najib Mikati a favorite to be designated Monday to form a new Cabinet. With leaders under intense French pressure, Mikati is then expected to form a government charged with implementing reforms, restarting negotiations with the International Monetary Fund over a rescue package and supervising next year's parliamentary elections.
The reports said Paris, which is leading international efforts to salvage Lebanon, wants a government formed by the first anniversary of the Aug. 4 Beirut Port blast.
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 under the poverty line.
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