Lebanese pound slips to new lows, dropping to 6,000 to the dollar

BEIRUT, June 22 (Reuters) – The Lebanese pound fell to new lows on Tuesday, trading above 6,000 per dollar in a parallel market, according to market participants, amid a severe crisis in the dollar. dollar has further eroded its value.

President Michel Aoun said earlier this month that the central bank would start using limited dollar reserves to support the pound after a sharp drop sparked further public protests.

The pound has lost around 75% of its value since October, when Lebanon was plunged into a crisis that resulted in job losses, price hikes and capital controls that cut the Lebanese off their foreign exchange savings. strong.

With few sources of new inflows of dollars, the central bank has sought to stabilize the dollar rate at exchange bureaus by setting a unified rate with them each day, with legal penalties for brokers operating above it. The rate was set at 3,850/3,900 on Tuesday as part of the program.

However, money changers said on Monday that the reduced rate would only be available to customers with specific documented needs such as paying for dollar-denominated loans, airline tickets, overseas tuition and fees. of wages for foreign workers.

Two dealers said Tuesday they were buying dollars for 6,000 pounds. One said he was selling dollars for $ 6,200 while the second said he was not selling. The rate compares to a dollar purchase price of about 5,000 a week ago.

Hani Bohsali, president of the Union of Food, Consumer Products and Beverage Importers, said dollars at any price were “almost unobtainable” and that a system of allocating dollars to importers of food barely worked.

Bohsali said he was also quoted at a rate of 6,000/6,200 pounds for buying and selling on Tuesday.

The pound remains pegged to the dollar at 1,507.5, but this rate remains available only for imports of wheat, medicine and fuel.

Reporting by Tom Perry, Eric Knecht, Laila Bassam and Ellen Francis Editing by Gareth Jones

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