The black market exchange rate for the US dollar experienced a significant drop on Tuesday after Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh announced that banks would start selling dollars to the public at a rate of 38,000 Lebanese pounds (LBP) per dollar on the Sayrafa platform.
In a statement, Salameh said: “Throughout the three-day holidays period, the U.S. dollar exchange rate surged by LBP 2,000 on the parallel market due to speculation operations and the smuggling of dollars abroad. This hike caused inflation on the markets, which harmed the Lebanese citizen seeing as prices in Lebanon are linked to the dollar exchange rate.”
He added: “Accordingly, and based on articles 75 and 83 of the Code of Money and Credit, it has been decided firstly to hike the Sayrafa exchange rate to LBP 38,000, and secondly for the central bank to buy all Lebanese liras and sell the dollar at the LBP 38,000 Sayrafa rate.”
Salameh also stated that “individuals and institutions, and without sum limits, can apply to all Lebanese banks to carry out these operations until further announcement.”
Salameh’s announcement caused the dollar exchange rate on the black market to drop.
However, the unofficial rate rebounded to 45,000 LBP at around 1pm Tuesday, after reaching 42,000 LBP earlier in the day.
On Monday, the black market rate reached 48,000 LBP.