Lebanon central bank chief seeks to ease demand for dollars

BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon’s central bank governor said the bank will secure foreign currency for some imports in a move that is expected to ease the demand for hard currency.

Riad Salameh’s comments yesterday came a day after hundreds protested in Beirut and elsewhere in Lebanon over a worsening economic crisis, compounded by worries that Lebanon’s dollar-reliant currency is losing value for the first time in more than two decades.

Lebanon is facing a deep-running fiscal crisis as it staggers under one of the highest debt ratios in the world, at USD86 billion — or more than 150 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product.

Salameh said after meeting President Michel Aoun that the central bank will secure foreign currency needs of the private and public sectors.