The Lebanese lira on Wednesday reached a new low on the parallel market, trading at LL41,000 to the US dollar. The new record comes as the country's authorities still have not adopted reforms necessary to curb the economic and financial collapse in which Lebanon has been mired for three years.
According to the website lirarate.org, the dollar was worth LL41,000 to buy and LL40,900 to sell at around 3:40 p.m. Beirut time.
The gap between this rate and that of the Sayrafa platform (designed by Banque du Liban to try to stabilize the exchange rate) continues to widen, now amounting to more than LL10,000. On Tuesday, the Sayrafa rate stood at LL30,300.
Last Wednesday, caretaker Finance Minister Youssef Khalil revealed that he had sent a note to BDL asking it to calculate, as of Dec. 1, customs duties an exchange rate of LL15,000 to the dollar, instead of the official peg of LL1,507.5, which is still, technically, in force.
The depreciation of the national currency, which has lost more than 96 percent of its value in three years, has plunged more than three quarters of the Lebanese below the poverty line, according to the UN. The lira's plummet continues despite a preliminary agreement between Beirut and the International Monetary Fund, which called for the introduction of a floating exchange rate. The agreement also asks the Lebanese government to undertake additional reforms in order to unlock financial assistance from the fund, but amid a dual executive power vacuum — with no president in office and the government serving in a caretaker capacity — progress on many of these items has stalled.