Lebanon central bank denies halting operations on exchange platform

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Lebanon’s central bank on Wednesday denied its official foreign exchange platform had halted operations, after the value of the country’s pound sank on the parallel market.

The bank said it was continuing to supply dollars without a ceiling at the official rate announced on the platform. It has intervened to keep the pound broadly stable near that rate since mid-January.

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The currency was changing hands at 22,000/22,500 to the dollar on the parallel market, a market participant said, compared to the 20,200 declared by the central bank’s Sayrafa platform on Tuesday. It earlier went as low at 23,000.

Lebanon’s currency has lost more than 90 percent of its value since Lebanon descended into a financial crisis in 2019. It had fallen as low as 34,000 before the central bank intervention began.

Although the currency has all but collapsed, the official peg of 1,500 pounds to the dollar, introduced in 1997, remains in place - one of several officially recognized exchange rates.

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