while he arrived The exchange rate of the dollar against the Lebanese pound Yesterday, Thursday, at 13075 pounds, the dollar jumped in morning trading on Friday to a new record, reaching 13,300 pounds for sale to the cashier, and 13,450 pounds to the dollar.
Cancellation of the decision to suspend depositors’ withdrawals from their dollar accounts
On Thursday, the Governor of the Banque du Liban, Riad Salameh, announced the cancellation of the decision to suspend the withdrawals of depositors from their accounts in US dollars, at the rate of 3900 Lebanese pounds to the dollar.
And on Wednesday, the bank issued a circular asking banks operating in the local market to suspend depositors’ withdrawals from their money with banks in dollars, at the rate of 3900 Lebanese pounds to the dollar.
After his meeting with President of the Republic, Michel Aoun, Salameh said that it was decided to consider Circular 151 (allowing depositors to withdraw from their dollar accounts at a rate of 3900 Lebanese pounds to the dollar), issued by the Banque du Liban, as valid.
Lebanese banks set restrictions on withdrawals in dollars, and allow withdrawals in Lebanese pounds only, and according to the exchange rate of 3900 pounds, based on a previous decision of the Banque du Liban, while the parallel market exchange rate is currently 13,000 pounds.
But the Central Bank, after requesting to stop the withdrawals according to the exchange rate of 3900 pounds to the dollar, did not specify in which currency the deposits will be paid to their owners, and according to what exchange rate, if they will be made in Lebanese pounds.
This raised the fears of depositors in foreign currencies that withdrawing their money would be available only according to the exchange rate of 1510 pounds, which is the official exchange rate.
The Lebanese Depositors Association (Ahlia) announced its refusal to pay withdrawals from dollar deposits in Lebanese pounds, whether according to the exchange rate of 1515 pounds, or 3900 pounds.
And she said in a statement via her Twitter account, that “the deposit is paid in the same currency as the deposit only, not in the Lebanese pound.”
Lebanon’s economic crisis
A year and a half ago, a severe economic crisis afflicted Lebanon, which led to an unprecedented financial collapse and a scarcity of basic materials such as medicine and fuel, in addition to a record high price of food commodities.
Lebanon is seeking to borrow from the International Monetary Fund in order to bridge the financing gap that the country is suffering from, in addition to the scarcity of foreign currencies and structural problems in the banking and financial sector.
But the Fund requires the start of real economic reforms and the formation of a government, as a goodwill gesture to start lending to the country.
On Tuesday, the World Bank estimated, in a report, that Lebanon’s current economic crisis is among the ten most severe crises, and perhaps one of the three most severe, in the world, since the mid-nineteenth century.
The dollar crises and the collapse of the exchange rate of the lira in the Lebanese market affected the pharmaceutical industry and its import from abroad, amid a scarcity in its abundance.
The pharmacies operating in the country were forced on more than one occasion to announce a strike, while some hospital institutions rationed laboratory tests for shortages of materials, in the absence of radical solutions.
The resilience of the pharmaceutical sector in Lebanon is at stake, with the increasing threats arising from the risks of fluctuations in the exchange rate of the dollar against the Lebanese pound.
The price of one dollar in the parallel market reached 12900 pounds, compared to 1510 pounds in the official market, and the average price supported by the Central Bank was 3900 pounds.
The future does not look bright, at a time when citizens are suffering from high unemployment and poverty, a decrease in the number of working hours, and a decline in the number of full-time workers, amid a sharp decline in demand for consumption.
In normal conditions, Lebanon was supposed to witness at this time of the year, the arrival of incoming tourism, as the country has long been classified as a major destination for summer tourism.
“Lebanon is on the verge of total collapse”
The Lebanese caretaker prime minister, Hassan Diab, warned, on Wednesday, that “Lebanon is on the verge of total collapse”, a situation that will also harm the brotherly and friendly countries, which he appealed to his country’s support, in light of the inability to form a new government.
Through a televised speech, Diab addressed the Lebanese, saying: “Despite the passage of 300 days since the resignation of the government, the political calculations continue to ignore Lebanon’s interests and the suffering of the Lebanese and hinder the formation of the government.”
He added: “Because of these calculations, emptiness has become the norm in the country, while the presence of the state and its institutions is the exception.”
He continued, “The Lebanese are frustrated to the point of “searching for hope and détente away from their homeland.”
He explained that “Lebanon is losing every day its scientific competencies and its youth… The vicious cycle in which the country has been going for 15 years has stifled hope for a way out of the crisis, leading to the collapse that threatens us all.”
And he warned that “its repercussions (the comprehensive collapse) will be very dangerous, not only for the Lebanese, but for brotherly and friendly countries, on land or across the sea (it seems that he means irregular migration), and no one will be able to control its results.” And he added: “The Lebanese are a victim, while the political forces will rise again to present themselves as a savior for the Prime Time Zone and the country (…) and what is required is to work to prevent the fall and make concessions from all political forces.”
He addressed those forces by saying: “Fear God in this Prime Time Zone who pay high prices without sin.”
The situation worsened due to the repercussions of the “Corona” pandemic and the explosion of the port in a country where the interests of regional and Western countries are in conflict.
Diab appealed to the brotherly and friendly countries of Lebanon, saying: “Lebanon is in the heart of grave danger. Do not bear the Lebanese Prime Time Zone for consequences for which they do not bear any responsibility, and the Lebanese Prime Time Zone are waiting for you to stand by them, and they are not expected to watch their suffering or contribute to its deepening.”
And he concluded by saying: “Oh God, I bear witness that I have reached, God protects Lebanon, God protects the Lebanese.”
Since his appointment last October, Hariri has disagreed with Aoun over the formation of a government of specialists (not affiliated with political parties), the number of ministerial portfolios, and the nomination of ministers, especially Christians among them.
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