Lebanon crisis

Lebanese pound back in freefall after brief recovery

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The Lebanese pound sold for more than 20,000 to the dollar on Wednesday, losing almost all the value it regained following the announcement of a new government last month.

The pound, officially pegged at 1,500 to the greenback since 1997, has lost more than 90 percent of its black market value since the start of an unprecedented economic crisis in 2019.


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The plummeting pound sold for a record low of more than 23,000 to the dollar on the black market in July.

The formation of a new government on September 10, ending a year-long political deadlock, then brought the value of the currency back up to 15,000 to the greenback -- its highest value in months.

But the boost to market sentiment quickly faded and the pound started to retreat again in the following weeks.

On Wednesday, it sold for 20,500 to the greenback, down from 17,000 to the dollar at the start of the month, money changers told AFP.

Wednesday’s exchange rate puts the pound at its lowest value since August -- the last time it topped the symbolic 20,000 mark.

The continuing drop in the value of the currency has dashed hopes that the new government of Prime Minister Najib Mikati can stem an economic crisis branded by the World Bank as one of the worst since the mid-19th century.

Nearly 80 percent of the population lives below the poverty line.

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