As we continue to monitor the dollar to Lebanese Lira today’s black market exchange rate, it stands at 1 USD = 97,000 LBP, reflecting a stable trend in recent days. This article aims to provide an in-depth analysis of Lebanon’s latest news and developments while also offering a glimpse of yesterday’s Lira rate.
Yesterday’s Lira Rate and Recent Stability
On April 20, 2023, the USD to LBP black market rate remained stable at 1 USD = 97,300 Lebanese Lira. This stability has persisted for the past few days, with only a significant drop to 1 USD = 96,900 LBP occurring at 9:30 PM on April 19. This consistent exchange rate has provided some sense of stability amidst Lebanon’s ongoing political and economic turmoil.
The Shift to Dollar Pricing
The collapsing lira has pushed Lebanon’s retailers to replace it with the US dollar, a more stable currency. As the lira’s value plummets, shop owners in Beirut and across the country increasingly opt to display prices in dollars to minimize losses and protect their businesses.
The Impact on Shop Owners
Retailers like Razmig Keoshkerian, who runs a small supermarket in Beirut, face immense stress due to the lira’s freefall. They must adjust prices daily to keep up with the fluctuating currency, leading to constant uncertainty and financial strain. The recent government decision to allow supermarkets to price in dollars has brought some relief, as dollar prices don’t fluctuate as drastically.
Economics professor Leila Dagher argues that pricing in dollars should have been implemented long ago, as it primarily protects consumers. With a stable currency, consumers can compare prices without constant changes, fostering competitiveness between shops.
The Roots of Lebanon’s Economic Crisis
Years of unsustainable borrowing, financial mismanagement, corruption, and political instability have fueled one of the world’s worst economic crises since the mid-1800s. Since 2019, Lebanese banks have imposed tight restrictions on withdrawals, prompting protests and worsening economic conditions for the population.
Government Policies and Currency Depreciation
The Lebanese government’s budget policies have contributed to increasing inflation rates and quicker currency depreciation. The central bank’s recent announcement to sell “unlimited” amounts of US dollars at a discounted rate may temporarily slow the lira’s depreciation. Still, economists predict that the currency will hit record lows again soon.
The Debate Over Abandoning the Lira
Lebanon is grappling with whether to abandon the lira entirely. The country is considered “highly dollarized,” which economist Layal Mansour calls “one of the worst economic indicators.” She suggests that Lebanon should either fully dollarize or create a new national currency pegged to the US dollar.
The Impact on Wealth Inequality
Some experts argue that dollarization could exacerbate wealth inequality in Lebanon, creating a divide between those without access to dollars. However, others maintain that pricing goods in dollars alone will not affect wealth inequality but rather the ability to access dollars as a source of income.
Education and Access to Opportunities
The economic crisis has severely impacted many Lebanese families’ access to education and opportunities. As public schools remain closed due to teacher strikes, only those who can afford private education or have access to dollars can ensure their children’s continued education.
Jumblat’s Views on Regional Thaw and Its Impact on Lebanon
Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat recently suggested that re-establishing ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran and between Riyadh and Damascus will have no impact on the Lebanese presidential file. Jumblat believes that Lebanon’s political situation is separate from the ongoing regional developments. He maintains his firm stance on rejecting confrontational presidential candidates and emphasizes the need for Lebanon to reach a consensus in order to break the current political deadlock.
Lebanon Lawyers Face Ban from Union
Lebanese lawyers are increasingly concerned about a recent ban from their union on unauthorized media appearances. Lawyers and human rights activists argue that this ban amounts to political interference, violating laws on free speech and hindering their vital accountability work. This limitation on lawyers’ participation in public debate restricts their ability to share legal and judicial insights with the public.
Prominent activist lawyer Nizar Saghieh faced interrogation for three hours by the Beirut Bar Association for violating the ban. Saghieh, who heads the watchdog group Legal Agenda, has criticized the government’s probe into the deadly 2020 Beirut Port explosion and provided legal analysis on corruption cases, political decisions, and alleged human rights violations.
Saghieh and 12 other lawyers have filed a legal appeal against the ban. The judiciary is set to decide on the case early next month. The outcome of this appeal will have significant implications for the role of lawyers in Lebanon’s public discourse.
While the dollar to Lebanese Lira today’s black market rate remains stable, the country faces ongoing political and judicial challenges. Lebanon must address these issues and work towards building a more transparent and accountable system. As we continue to provide updates on the Lira rate and the latest news in Lebanon, we encourage readers to stay informed and actively engage in discussions surrounding these critical issues.
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