Money exchange shops end strike, vow to control rate

The decision came following a meeting between officials on Tuesday, the Syndicate of money changers said.
by Georgi Azar

3 June 2020 | 12:18

Source: by Annahar

  • by Georgi Azar
  • Source: Annahar
  • Last update: 3 June 2020 | 12:18

This Nov. 26, 2008, file photo, an employee stacks packets of currency in the Central Lebanese Bank in Beirut, Lebanon.

BEIRUT: Lebanon's money exchange shops have ended their month-long strike, arguing that they will buy U.S. dollars for a minimum of 3,950 Lebanese pounds and sell them at a maximum price of 4,000 pounds.

The price will be set daily, the Syndicate of money changers said.

The decision to end the strike came following a meeting between officials on Tuesday, the Syndicate announced. 

It said it hopes the measures lead to a drop in the exchange rate, reaching 3,200 Lebanese pounds to the dollar in weeks. Experts warn that this view remains farfetched with dollars in short supply.

Last month, money exchange shops initiated an open strike in the wake of a government crackdown that blamed dealers for the lira's sharp devaluation.

Lebanese officials are currently locked in negotiations with the International Monetary fund over a multi-billion dollar bailout after the small Mediterranean country's house of cards came crashing down.

Negotiations began on the wrong foot, after the Central Bank, government and Association of Banks presented differing numbers in regards to losses.

The failure to pass the long-awaited capital control law, however, coupled with the numerous exchange rates currently being traded, has also put off the IMF.

The IMF will also look to enforce the closure of all illegal border crossings used for smuggling subsided oil and wheat into Syria, potentially impairing a mean of revenue for the Iranian-backed Hezbollah.

Negotiations are still at an early stage, with concrete recommendations from the IMF months away. 

Another obstacle that has come to the forefront recently is the fugitive and former CEO of Nissan Carlos Ghosn, who engineered his escape from Japan where he was awaiting trial for alleged financial crimes.

According to Arab News, Japan may wield its significant voting power at the IMF to block any potential bailout should Lebanon continue sheltering Ghosn.

“Without handing over Carlos Ghosn, the IMF will not give Lebanon any money,” said Sakher Hachem, Nissan’s legal representative in Lebanon, in an interview with the Saudi newspaper.

Lebanon is currently seeking $10 billion from the IMF to curb a financial meltdown that has rocked the country's once-stable banking sector. 


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