Lebanon finance minister says no deal yet on FX rate in budget draft

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Lebanon’s finance minister said on Monday there was still no agreement on an exchange rate to be applied in the 2022 draft budget, “but numbers might not be far from” rates of 15,000 to 20,000 Lebanese pounds per dollar, local television station Al Jadeed reported.

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The minister, Youssef Khalil, was referring to rates reported by Reuters on Friday when an official source said this range would be applied for calculating operating expenses in the budget, moving away from the previously used official rate of 1,500.

The pound has lost more than 90 percent of its value since Lebanon slumped into financial crisis in 2019. While the official exchange rate is still 1,500 pounds per dollar, on a parallel market one dollar fetches around 23,000 pounds.

The government met on Monday for the first time in more than three months and will hold successive sessions from Tuesday until the budget draft is completed.

Khalil added that the exchange rate determined by the Central Bank’s Sayrafa platform would be applied to customs transactions in the draft budget.

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