BEIRUT — In a statement released Friday afternoon, the central bank advised all citizens and companies looking to convert their Lebanese lira cash to US dollars, to apply through banks starting Monday. Conversions will be executed at the Sayrafa rate and will be completed within 24 hours.
Here’s what we know:
• The lira was trading close to LL38,000 to the US dollar when the central bank’s announcement was released.
• The central bank stated that these transactions will fall under Circular 161. They will not be subject to any limit and will be available daily.
• Losses of the lira were approaching 30 percent since parliamentary elections on May 15.
• When the measure was announced, the Lira immediately strengthened from LL37,700 to LL31,000 to the US dollar, climbing to LL29,800 a few hours later.
• Today, the Sayarafa rate averaged LL24,600 to the US dollar.
• The central bank instructed all commercial banks starting Monday and for three consecutive days to keep their branches open until 6 p.m. to fulfill the conversion applications and to pay the salaries of all the public sector employees in US dollars at the Sayrafa rate.