Lebanon’s currency drops to new low as financial meltdown deepens

Lebanon’s currency drops to new low as financial meltdown deepens

Prime Minister-designate Salad al-Hariri has been at loggerheads with President Michel Aon over naming ministers since his designation in October. The former government has continued in a caretaker capacity after having resigned in the aftermath of the Aug. 4 Beirut port blast. The financial collapse is taking place against a backdrop of fractious politicians bickering over cabinet formation. Depositors, locked out of their dollar accounts since last year, have been promised some access starting July, with each customer getting $400 in cash and an equivalent in Lebanese pounds at a rate close to market value.

Foreign reserves, used to fund a subsidy programme for basic goods including fuel, medicine and wheat, are running out and shortages have been worsening across the board in recent weeks. The last time the pound hit a low of 15,000 in March protesters took to the streets across Lebanon for over a week, blocking roads by burning tyres.

Some hospitals are ruling out elective procedures and only performing emergency surgeries to ration what is left of medical supplies. Most pharmacies staged a two day strike this week as medications run out and hours long car queues for gasoline have frustrated motorists causing squabbles. Lebanon is in the throes of a deep economic meltdown that is threatening its stability. The World Bank has called it one of the deepest depressions of modern history.

Source finance.yahoo.com But the International Monetary Fund on Thursday criticised Lebanon’s proposal for dollar deposit withdrawals and a capital control law yet to be approved by parliament saying both measures would only be meaningful as part of broader reforms. (Reporting By Maha El Dahan and Laila Bassam Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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