Lebanon: Central bank allows local branches to buy US dollars until end of year

Lebanon: Central bank allows local branches to buy US dollars until end of year
1 min read
29 November, 2022
Lebanon's central bank has allowed local banks to purchase unlimited US dollars until the end of the year as the country grapples with a protracted financial crisis which has seen its GDP shrink by more than half since 2019.
Lebanon's real GDP is projected to contract by a further 6.5 percent in 2022, according to the World Bank [source: Getty]

Lebanon's central bank on Tuesday extended a circular allowing banks to purchase an unlimited amount of US dollars on its Sayrafa exchange platform until the end of the year, a central bank statement said.

The circular has been repeatedly extended since it first came into force nearly one year ago. 

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Lebanon's GDP has shrunk by more than half during the protracted financial crisis, from around $52 billion in 2019 to $22 billion in 2021. 

Annual inflation has been above 100 percent for the past 26 months in a row. 

Most banks are bankrupt and allow depositors to withdraw only pocket money every month. 

Over the past year, a number of Lebanese civilians have resorted to using violence or hostage-taking to demand their bank hands them their hard-earn savings. 

In the latest bank heist, a 90 year-old woman was protesting at a bank audi branch on Salim Salam Avenue in Msaitbeh where she has $20,000 in savings, according to the "Depositors' Outcry Association" on Twitter.