Dollars available in Lebanese banking sector: cbank governor

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Lebanese central bank governor Riad Salameh said on Monday that Lebanese banks were meeting customer demand for US dollars which are still available at ATMs in most banks, if not all of them.

“Dollars are available in Lebanon and the talk that we see in social media and sometimes in the media is exaggerated and has goals,” Salameh said in a televised news conference.

He said any measures taken at ATMs were down to the policy of each individual bank, adding: “But dollars are still available in the ATMs, perhaps not in all the banks, but in most of the banks,” he said.

Any transaction a customer could not carry out at an ATM could be completed at the bank counter, he added.

Salameh also addressed interest rates on Lebanese bonds traded on secondary markets, which he said were inflated.

“We believe that the interest rates we are seeing in the secondary market in London are inflated and normal rates ... should be lower than are announced in the London markets,” said Salameh.

A forthcoming maturity of Lebanese foreign currency-dominated debt would be paid off, added Salameh.

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