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File photo: Central bank governor Riad Salameh (L) with Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni . The departure of consultancy Alvarez & Marsal which was supposed to do the forensic audit of the Central bank as demanded by Lebanon creditors was described as the kiss of death to any future reforms

Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh said on Wednesday that he discussed with caretaker Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni some ideas over improving the exchange rate of the Lebanese Lira against the US dollar after it recently collapsed to an all time low

National News Agency said the two men discussed all the pressing financial and monetary issues.

“I met with Minister Wazni and proposed to him some proposals which will be studied by him and by the central bank’s central council over the next 24 hours,” Salameh who returned from Paris said after the talks.

“We believe that these suggestions will lead to a drop in the dollar exchange rate in Lebanon,” he added.

Lebanon’s currency hit a new low against the dollar on the black market Tuesday, continuing its freefall in a country gripped by political deadlock and an economic crisis.

The latest plunge means the Lebanese pound has lost 90 percent of its value on the informal market in just 18 months.

The Lebanese pound has been pegged to the dollar at 1,500 since 1997, but the country’s worst economic crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war has seen its unofficial value plummet.

The slide has picked up speed over the past two weeks, with the exchange rate soaring from 10,000 Lebanese pounds to the dollar on March 2 to around 15,000 on Tuesday.

Three money changers said they were buying dollars for 14,800 to 14,900 Lebanese pounds, while a customer told AFP they had sold the foreign currency at 15,000 pounds to the dollar.

The pound’s fall has led to soaring food prices in a country where more than half of the population now lives below the poverty line. 

The smell of burnt tyres wafted over Beirut on Tuesday after gaggles of protesters took to the streets in the capital and elsewhere in the country, in the latest such demonstrations in recent weeks.

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