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Lebanon: Pound crashes again after brief recovery

Lebanon's currency plummets after initial hope of a recovery following the appointment of a new government last month
An anti-government demonstrator carries a placard that reads 'The bank is safe, the currency is dead' in front of Lebanon's central bank in Beirut, on 16 March 2021 (AFP)

The Lebanese pound lost value again on Wednesday, selling for more than 20,000 against the dollar, following a brief recovery triggered by the formation of a new government last month. 

The currency has lost more than 90 percent of its value since late 2019, when an unprecedented economic and political meltdown took hold of the country. The pound has been pegged at 1,500 to the dollar since 1997.

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In July, the pound sold on the black market for a historical low of more than 23,000 against the dollar.  

After a new cabinet was appointed on 10 September, following a year-long political stalemate over the formation of a new government, the pound regained its highest value in months – 15,000 to the dollar. 

But it has started to plummet again. The pound fell to 20,500 on Wednesday, after selling at 17,000 to the dollar at the start of October, according to AFP. This is its lowest value since August, when it reached 20,000 to the greenback.

The ongoing currency crisis leaves little hope that the new government, spearheaded by Prime Minister Najib Mikati, can arrest Lebanon’s economic downfall. 

More than 80 percent of the Lebanese population live below the poverty line, with the World Bank describing Lebanon’s economic situation as one of the worst financial crises in recent history.