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Lebanese pound down as govt optimism suffers blow

U.S. one dollar banknotes are seen in front of displayed stock graph in this illustration taken February 8, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

BEIRUT: The Lebanese pound fell on the black market Wednesday, trading at 18,350 to the dollar, as hopes of an imminent formation of a new government appeared to have been dashed again.

Exchange dealers said they were buying the greenback for LL18,300 and and selling it for LL18,400, compared to LL17,900-LL18,000 Tuesday.

The pound's drop followed days of gains as optimism emerged from negotiations over the formation of a new government. This week promised to be decisive to determine whether all hurdles have been overcome, clearing the way for the announcement of a proposed Cabinet lineup of 24 nonpartisan specialists desperately demanded by the international community to enact reforms and rescue the crises-hit country.

But reports emerged Wednesday that some differences between President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati remained unresolved.

The national currency has lost more than 90 percent of its value over the past two years, as the country's political and economic crisis pushed around three quarters of the population under the poverty line.

 

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