BEIRUT (Reuters) – Lebanon’s central bank will intervene in the market starting on Thursday to protect the Lebanese pound, whose declining value has forced up the price of food and other commodities, Prime Minister Hassan Diab said.
“I received a promise from the governor … that the bank will intervene in the market, starting from today, to protect the Lebanese pound and to rein in the rise of the dollar exchange rate,” Diab said in a televised speech.
In separate comments published on Thursday, Diab said Lebanon was at risk of a major food crisis and many Lebanese might soon find it hard to afford bread because of the financial crisis and the fall-out of COVID-19.
“Once the breadbasket of the Eastern Mediterranean, Lebanon is facing a dramatic challenge that seemed unimaginable a decade ago: the risk of a major food crisis,” Diab wrote in the Washington Post.
Dollars have been changing hands around 4,000 pounds on the parallel market recently.
The central bank said last week it aimed to provide dollars for imports at an exchange rate of 3,200 Lebanese pounds to reduce food prices.