Lebanese central bank seeks to strengthen currency after crashing to an all time low

File photo of a protest against corruption at the central bank of Lebanon and the commercial banks

Lebanon’s central bank Riad Salameh issued a statement on Friday after the Lebanese currency the Lira hit an all time low exchange rate of 38 000 LL per US dollar

His statement stopped the fall of the Lebanese currency which rebounded to 32500 LL per US dollar

In his statement he said that as of Monday and for three consecutive days, Lebanese banks must keep their branches and cash counters open until 6pm and must also dispense the public sector wages in U.S. dollars, at the Sayrafa platform rate which he sets daily by him .

Banks had stopped selling US dollars at the so called Sayrafa rate in recent days, with some accusing them of suspending the operations in response to the government’s financial and economic recovery plan.

Since 1997 , the Lebanese pound was pegged to the dollar at 1,500, meaning that it has lost over 95 percent of its value in the last two years.

Lebanon’s financial collapse was caused by “something similar to a Ponzi scheme”, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in videotaped comments made during a closed-door meeting on his visit to Beirut in December

“As far as I understand, what has happened in Lebanon is that Lebanon was using something similar to a Ponzi scheme … which means that together with of course corruption and other forms of stealing, the financial system has collapsed,” Mr Guterres said in the video, which was circulated widely on social media..

Mike Azar, an expert on the Lebanese financial system who attended the meeting, confirmed Mr Guterres made the remarks at the closed-door gathering between the UN chief and members of Lebanese civil society

News Agencies/ Ya Libnan