Lebanese c.bank denies ceasing operations on FX platform

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A view shows the Central Bank building in Beirut, Lebanon November 12, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

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BEIRUT, March 9 (Reuters) – Lebanon’s central bank on Wednesday denied that its official foreign exchange platform had shut down operations after the country’s pound fell in value on the parallel market.

The bank said it continues to deliver dollars with no cap at the official rate announced on the platform. It has intervened to keep the pound broadly stable near this level since mid-January.

The currency changed hands at 22,000/22,500 against the dollar in the parallel market, a market participant said, compared to the 20,200 announced by the central bank’s Sayrafa platform on Tuesday. It was previously that low at 23,000.

The Lebanese currency has lost more than 90% of its value since Lebanon plunged into a financial crisis in 2019. It had fallen as low as 34,000 before central bank intervention began.

Although the currency has almost collapsed, the official £1,500 peg to the dollar, introduced in 1997, remains in place – one of several officially recognized exchange rates.

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Reporting by Tom Perry; writing by Mahmoud Mourad; Edited by Edmund Blair and John Stonestreet

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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