A new downward turn means that the Lebanese pound has lost more than 90 percent of its value on the informal market since October 2019. The World Bank has called it one of the worst financial crunches worldwide since the mid-19th century. Lebanon’s currency hit a new low against the dollar on the black market Monday. The pound, officially at 1,507 to the US dollar since 1997, was selling for 15,400 to 15,500 to the greenback on the black market, several money changers have stated.
After hovering around 15,000 to the dollar in mid-March, the unofficial exchange rate dropped to between 12,000 and 13,000 later that month before soaring back up in recent days. The last time the pound hit a low of 15,000 in March protesters took to the streets across Lebanon for over a week, blocking roads by burning tires.
Lebanon has been without a fully-functioning government for ten months since the last one stepped down after a deadly port explosion in Beirut last summer. Politicians were unable to form a new cabinet even as foreign currency cash reserves plummeted, causing fuel, electricity and medicine shortages.
According to thearabweekly.com, the country, where more than half the population now lives in poverty, is in desperate need of financial aid but the international community has made any such assistance conditional on the formation of a new government to launch sweeping reforms.
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