As this trend coincides with one of the basic demands that the IMF insists on establishing a reliable monetary and exchange system based on the unification of exchange rates, the follow-up and concerned sources confirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat that the opportunity is now available to restructure the exchange rates and benefit from the psychological impact that the formation of The government is on the markets, and the Central Bank will receive tomorrow (Thursday) Lebanon’s share of the Special Drawing Rights with the Fund at the amount of 1.135 billion dollars.
It also converges with the new government’s tendency to include the monetary file among the urgent priorities according to its direct effects on the suffocating living crisis on the one hand, and the necessity of addressing the chaos and multiplicity of prices in parallel with the diminishing capabilities of the Central Bank to manage liquidity and assume the reference role in the currency market.
It is not possible in advance, according to a banking official, to determine the unified price, the margins of its fluctuations, and how to enable the Central Bank to control the course of monetary exchanges, including meeting commercial demand, the legitimate financial needs of individuals and institutions, and state expenses in hard currencies. Banque du Liban Riad Salameh and the Association of Banks agreed on a package of monetary and financial measures that would gradually end the concentration of operations in parallel markets, and return control capabilities to the monetary authority.
The official refers to the extreme sensitivity surrounding the exchange rate file, after the collapse reached trough levels that almost completely overthrown the innocent strength of the lira, in light of the depletion of free reserves at the Central Bank, and the growing almost absolute control of currency dealers and parallel market exchangers who are exclusively bound by mobile application platforms. While the previous government insisted on depleting a valuable balance of about 13 billion dollars, over two years, from reserves in exchange for subsidizing basic materials, most of which do not reach their beneficiaries, while banks in turn suffer, despite the restrictions and ceilings it decided, in facilitating cash needs in pounds and dollars for their depositors.
Noting that it has committed itself to disbursing monthly rations of $400 in cash to those who meet the conditions of Circular No. 158.
Thus, the official explains, “The task is not easy, but it is not impossible either. The monetary file is the hard core of the collapse of the purchasing power of incomes, the locking up of savings in banks and feeding the chain of crises that hit the country and its economy. The financial team can start moving quickly and come up with specific suggestions regarding the unified price, which is likely to be an intermediate position between the central platform price of 12 thousand pounds and the current popular price, which revolves around the threshold of 16 thousand pounds, and the mechanisms for controlling the price and exchanges in the currency market, provided that consultation takes place about it, albeit informally, with the IMF team on Lebanon.”
This file also acquires additional vitality due to its coincidence with the end of the work period at the end of this month, with the effect of extended circular No. 151 issued by the Banque du Liban in April of last year, which provides for the payment of withdrawals from accounts issued in hard currencies in the national currency at a price of 3900 pounds per each. dollars, which inflicted significant losses on the executed operations after the dollar price reached the threshold of 24,000 pounds in mid-July, bringing with it the deduction rate of about 84 percent of the original value, before it decreased relatively to about 75 percent after the dollar’s decline now To about 16.5 thousand pounds.
It is worth noting that there is a noticeable satisfaction in the banking community in the face of the great change in terms of the reorganization of the executive authority and the positive reactions in international forums. This was expressed by the President of the Association of Banks, Salim Sfeir, who welcomed the formation of the new government, hoping that the first steps in the journey to save the country from its current crisis that has been going on for two years will begin. He stressed, “We have always called for the speedy formation of a government to keep pace with the efforts made to lay down a realistic, logical and executable road map to get out of the crises we suffer from as a result of the absence of sound decisions and the failure to carry out the reforms required of the Lebanese people by the international community. The banking sector will be the first supporter of the government and the process of reviving the economy, if it is able to secure the minimum level of security, political and social stability in the country and approve the long-awaited reforms to release the aid of the international community.
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