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The Lebanese pound continued to slide against the US dollar , so far it has lost about 83 % of its value on the parallel market . About a year ago the Pound was pegged at about 1500 LL to the US dollar . On Thursday it hit 8800LL

File photo : Outraged over the collapse of the Lebanese currency Lebanese protesters set the Central Bank on fire, June 20, 2020

Beirut – The rise of the US dollar exchange rate against the Lebanese Lira has brought protesters in the north and south of Lebanon back to the streets.

On Thursday, the exchange rate of 1USD was equal to LBP8,800 after it was stable for the past weeks at around LBP8,000 and LBP8,500. 

In Sidon (south of Lebanon), protesters gathered at Masaref Street to express objection to the chaotic rise of the US dollar exchange rate and the deterioration in living and economic conditions. 

In Tripoli, protesters went down to Sahet al-Nour, or Light Plaza, and shouted slogans against the politicians’ practices.

They called on the politicians to resign and affirmed that their protests will not stop during the lockdown imposed due to the pandemic. 

The protesters urged the officials to provide the basic necessities for the people whose living conditions would deteriorate during the lockdown. 

The deterioration of the Lebanese lira exchange rate against the dollar coincides with the biggest economic crisis that Lebanon has ever encountered. It led to the scarcity of the US dollar, which is needed to import most consumption goods. 

This situation is likely to aggravate with the plan to lift subsidies provided by the Central Bank of Lebanon, therefore increasing the number of people living in poverty.

Lebanese cannot access their US dollar accounts . They can only withdraw funds in Lebanese pounds at an exchange rate of about 3800LL to the dollar . In other words they lose 57 cents on each dollar they withdraw since they have to go to the exchange houses and pay 8800 LL per dollar .

Even the national airline Middle East Airlines , which use to sell tickets in Lebanese pounds now wants to be paid in fresh US dollars, in other words it does not accept checks from Lebanese banks in Dollars

Asharq Al-Awsat/Ya Libnan

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