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  • Protester throw stones at riot police, Beirut, Lebanon, August 9, 2020.

    Protester throw stones at riot police, Beirut, Lebanon, August 9, 2020. | Photo: EFE

Published 10 August 2020
Opinion

Lebanon is one of the world's most indebted countries: its public debt is equivalent to 170 percent of its GDP.

The Government of Lebanon warned Monday that it will not allow changes in the exchange rate with the U.S. dollar amid the political crisis triggered by the Beirut blast, which has caused at least 158 ​​deaths and 6,000 injuries.

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The Public Security Directory called on citizens to report any manipulation of the exchange rate with the U.S. dollar to monitor speculative currency operations.

The U.S. dollar, which had a constant exchange rate of 1,507 pounds, is paid today on the black market at 8,300 pounds.

In recent months, the Lebanese pound lost over 80 percent of its value against the U.S. dollar amid a crisis in which inflation of 22 percent and lack of liquidity in banks are expected.

"The Lebanese economy is very unequal: 0.1 percent of the richest people earn as much as the 50 poorest people."

Lebanon is one of the world's most indebted countries with a public debt of US$90 billion, which is equivalent to 170 percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

In March, for the first time in its history, Lebanon announced the default of US$1.2 billion in Eurobonds. In 2020, this Arab nation must pay US$4.6 billion in debt maturities plus interest.

The consequences of last week's explosion have aggravated the economic situation in a country whose citizens have taken to the streets to demand the departure of President Michel Aoun’s administration, which has very low levels of trust and credibility.

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