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LIRA RATE

Salameh reaffirms continuation of Circular 161 as lira trades at just above LL23,000 on parallel market

Salameh reaffirms continuation of Circular 161 as lira trades at just above LL23,000 on parallel market

Central bank Governor Riad Salameh. (Credit: AFP/Joseph Eid)

BEIRUT — Banque du Liban Governor Riad Salameh announced in a statement Thursday that he “reaffirms the continuation of enforcing Circular 161 with its basic effects,” allowing banks to buy as many US dollars from the central bank as they want, in exchange for lira held in their accounts and their clients’ accounts, at the prevailing Sayrafa rate, the state-run National News Agency reported.

Here’s what we know:

    • In his statement, Salameh said that “The size of daily trading on the Sayrafa platform is not indicative of the central bank’s intervention in the US dollar market, nor is the volume recorded, because the Sayrafa platform reflects, on top of the trades executed between the central bank and other banks, all other transactions between money exchangers and banks.” The statement adds that “Banque du Liban does not necessarily intervene in these transactions.” 

    • Since Jan. 11, the Sayrafa rate has gradually increased from LL25,000 to the US dollar, to LL23,100 on Jan 19. The total US dollar volume recorded for the same period stands at $174 million.

    • The difference between the Sayarfa rate and the parallel market rate has compressed to around 1 percent from an average of more than 15 percent since the central bank started reporting rates on a daily basis in July of last year.


BEIRUT — Banque du Liban Governor Riad Salameh announced in a statement Thursday that he “reaffirms the continuation of enforcing Circular 161 with its basic effects,” allowing banks to buy as many US dollars from the central bank as they want, in exchange for lira held in their accounts and their clients’ accounts, at the prevailing Sayrafa rate, the state-run National News Agency...