A man walks past the Central Bank building, in Beirut, Lebanon on November 12, 2020. Photo taken on November 12, 2020. REUTERS / Mohamed Azakir / File Photo / File Photo

Lebanon’s central bank said on Friday that depositors with active accounts in October 2019 could withdraw up to $ 400 per month plus the equivalent amount in local currency, marking a significant concession after two chaotic days at Lebanese banks.

Lebanese banks had blocked depositors from their dollar accounts and blocked overseas transfers since the country was in the throes of a financial crisis at the end of 2019.

Under a central bank circular issued last year, depositors were allowed to withdraw funds from their dollar accounts, paid in local currency, but only at a rate of £ 3,900 for the greenback.

This rate is only about a third of the value of dollars on the black market – which traded at over 13,000 pounds to the dollar on Friday – but it is the only way for many Lebanese to access their funds. funds.

When the circular was issued last year, the black market rate in Lebanon was about half of what it is now. Lebanese account holders who withdraw at the rate of 3,900 pounds now suffer a loss of around 70% on their funds and there have been calls for the central bank to increase the rate.

Friday’s decision to grant depositors up to $ 800, with an exchange rate calculated close to market value, follows two chaotic days in the financial industry.

Details of the decision, which will take effect on July 1, will be released later and will apply to the value of the accounts as it was at the end of March 2021, the bank said in a statement.

On Wednesday evening, the central bank issued a statement saying it would stop allowing withdrawals at the fixed rate of 3,900 without further details.

He quickly backtracked Thursday after protests erupted and the central bank governor reassured depositors that he was not bankrupt and that people’s deposits were safe and would be returned. Read more

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