Lebanon's lira price drop triggers anger

At a money changer in Beirut, January 11, 2023. REUTERS - MOHAMED AZAKIR

Text by: RFI Follow

1 min

A further sharp depreciation of the Lebanese pound against the dollar on Tuesday (March 21st) caused panic and disruptions to the market supply chain in several vital sectors. Demonstrators blocked roads across the country to protest the collapse of purchasing power.


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With our correspondent in Beirut, Paul Khalifeh

The Lebanese are used to the rollercoaster of the pound, which has lost 98% of its value since the beginning of the crisis in 2019. But Tuesday's depreciation was unprecedented. In just a few hours, the dollar surpassed the 140,000 pound threshold while it was trading the day before at 105,000 pounds.

This sharp fall in the national currency has caused major disruptions in the market, where most products, including fuel, are imported from abroad and paid for in dollars.

Gasoline stations closed before deciding to sell gasoline on the parallel market dollar. Pharmacies have lowered their curtains and money changers have stopped supplying customers.

Faced with this depreciation, the Lebanese let out their anger. From north to south through Beirut and the eastern Bekaa Valley, desperate protesters closed roads with dumpsters, boulders and tires.

In the evening, the foreign exchange market stabilized for no apparent reason. The dollar fell back to 108000,<> and calm returned to the streets. However, the Lebanese know that this is only a lull before their national currency resumes its precipitous fall.

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  • Lebanon