Lebanon banks now have dollars to sell starting Monday. No limits

A damaged ATM cash machine is pictured in Beirut
File photo: A damaged ATM cash machine is pictured in Beirut, Lebanon March 17, 2021. The financial collapse of Lebanon resulted in depositors largely being shut out of their lifetime savings and the local currency losing more than 90% of its value. A draft of the plan to plug a huge hole in the financial system, forsees returning just $25 billion out of a total $104 billion in hard currency deposits to savers in U.S. dollars. On the other hand many of the corrupt Lebanese politicians and several top officials and bank executives were able to transfer billions of US dollars to their overseas accounts with the help of Central bank chief who is being investigated by several European countries over money laundering and embezzlement of hundreds of millions US dollars of public funds . REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir/File Photo

Beirut – Lebanese banks will be allowed to sell the local currency for U.S. dollars and vice-versa starting Monday March 28, on the basis of the rate determined by the central bank’s “Sayrafa” platform, the central bank said on Friday.

There will be no limitation on the volume of currency exchanged at the banks, it added in a statement.

Fuel imports will be based on an exchange rate of 22,200 Lebanese pounds per dollar, until March 29, it said.

The average exchange rate on Sayrafa on Thursday was 22,150 pounds per dollar, the central bank said.

The central bank began allowing commercial banks to purchase unlimited amounts of U.S. dollars on its Sayrafa platform in January, an intervention that helped the pound to strengthen from a low of 34,000 to the dollar.

The Lebanese pound has lost more than 90% of its value since 2019, when the financial system collapsed, plunging the majority of Lebanese into poverty.