Lebanese pound stable, trading at LL8,300

Black market exchangers were selling the dollar for LL8,350 and buying it for LL8,250


BEIRUT: The Lebanese pound remained stable against the dollar Tuesday, trading at around LL8,300 on the black market as the Cabinet formation process continued to stall.

Black market exchangers were selling the dollar for LL8,350 and buying it for LL8,250. The pound was trading at around LL8,350 Monday and LL8,300 over the Lebanese Independence Day weekend.

The recent decline of the pound – it breached LL8,000 to the dollar Wednesday for first time in four weeks – comes as the Cabinet formation process remains at a standstill, with no solutions to be found.

The pound rose against the dollar when Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri was first appointed to form a government in October, trading at around LL7,150 on the black market. However, hopes for a quick formation were dashed when rival political factions began disagreeing over their shares in the Cabinet.

President Michel Aoun over the weekend implicitly accused Hariri of deviating from the unified criteria spelled out in the French initiative designed to steer Lebanon out of its worst economic and financial crisis since the 1975-90 Civil War.

Aoun’s accusation reflected an escalation by him and his son-in-law, Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Gebran Bassil, of their positions on the Cabinet formation process by insisting on naming most of the nine Christian ministers in Hariri’s proposed 18-member government of nonpartisan specialists to deliver urgent reforms deemed essential to unlocking promised international aid to the crises-ridden country.

Lebanon has been left without a fully functioning government since caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab submitted his Cabinet’s resignation on Aug. 10 over the port blast.

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