Lebanese currency drops to new low as political and economic problems worsen

BEIRUT, Lebanon: The ailing Lebanese pound fell to a new low of 15,300 against the US dollar on the black market, amid continued political uncertainty in the country and worsening economic crisis exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

Although officially still valued at 1,515 against the dollar, the Lebanese pound has lost more than 90% of its value since anti-government protests erupted in October 2019, the Associated Press reported.

Economists have blamed Lebanon’s economic and financial turmoil, which led it to default on debt for the first time in its history in March last year, to decades of corruption and mismanagement.

The latest crash has pushed commodity prices out of reach in the country, which imports more than 80% of its commodities.

Even as it battles rising inflation, Lebanon faces an overwhelming shortage of essentials, such as fuel and medicine, and a major energy crisis.

Amid power cuts that last for days on end, owners of private generators have warned they will not be able to cover the state’s power shortages.

In addition to the country’s woes, a worsening political crisis has delayed the formation of a new government.

Former prime minister Hassan Diab resigned last year, just days after an explosion in the port of Beirut killed 211 people. Saad Hariri was named his successor in October.

But the task of forming a government has since been in limbo, with Hariri and President Michel Aoun having failed to agree on the new composition of the cabinet.

Meanwhile, the World Bank, which has warned of a prolonged depression in Lebanon in the absence of political consensus and reforms, said the country’s current crisis is likely to be one of the worst in the world over the years. Last 150 years.

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