The collapsing Lebanese pound sunk again Saturday afternoon, trading at LL17,950 to the dollar on the black market, as residents block highways across the country to protest falling living conditions.
In just a few hours the dollar/pound exchange rate increased by LL850, with dealers selling the dollar for LL18,000 and buying it for LL17,900, according to unoffical black market online sites.
Lebanon’s national currency has been in free fall as the impact of a political paralysis alongside the lifting of subsidies on essential goods has fueled a climate of instability for the country. The population has been facing drastic shortages of fuel, medicine and other essential items with no clear respite in sight.
Since late 2019, the pound has now lost more than 90 percent of its value on the parallel market as the country’s economy deteriorates from decades of state level corruption, mismanagement and the siphoning of public funds.
This week's tumble comes as officials wrangled over the partial lifting of subsidies on fuel and other goods as the Central Bank runs out of foreign currency reserves. With the Central Bank cutting down on selling dollars to importers at the official rate of LL1,507, demand for the US currency is set to grow in the informal market, adding further pressure on the pound.