The hard currency that was once abundant in Lebanon has now become an invaluable, rare asset – for the average citizen, at least.
It should not be surprising, then, to realize that some Lebanese are selling their jewelry and gold accessories in exchange for US dollars.
In such dire circumstances and times of uncertainty and disorder, people are understandably scurrying to find a way to secure some of that reliable “white piaster” for their “black day,” as the saying goes.
Amid the unavoidable collapse, a compelling opportunity has presented itself in the form of a global increase in gold prices.
Using this increase, Lebanese are being attracted to gold dealers, who arm their businesses with the alluring promise of “fresh money.” People are being tempted to sell their few grams of gold for some dollar bills that ought to come in handy soon.
This has become a final resort for some people who have fought for decades to gather a decent sum of money that they saved for their children’s future and their own.
Instead, these depositors have had to watch their valuable dollars change into lollars in a whim. They are forced to wait in long queues at banks for a small weekly amount of their hard-earned cash in Lebanese pounds at unfair exchange rates.
This, coupled with the clear observation that living conditions in Lebanon are only set to deteriorate further, is compelling some to gather their belongings of wedding rings, earrings, bracelets, and other gold accessories and take the offer of fresh money.
In a familiar move, the bought gold then gets exported by gold dealers and sold on the European market for high profit, in a time when people in the other half of the world are hoarding gold to guard their fortunes during the pandemic.
According to Lebanese Customs, 8,998 kg of gold, worth $431 million were exported by the end of May 2020.
This, for some Lebanese, has become the only way left to maintain some security – or at least a sense of it – while their world crumbles around them.
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