(Photo credit: Getty Images)
The Lebanese lira (LBP) plunged to a record 38,500 per US dollar on 15 September, three days after the central bank lifted fuel subsidies.
A central bank spokesperson said on Monday that the bank has stopped providing US dollars for gasoline imports, adding that importers will now have to source dollars from the black market.
As a result, fuel prices on Thursday stood at 696,000 LBP for a gallon of 98 octane gasoline, and 839,000 LBP for a gallon of diesel.
Just one day before the lira’s latest spiral, two desperate Lebanese depositors held up different banks in a desperate attempt to access their own savings.
This practice has become more common recently, as over the past three years Lebanon’s banks have locked depositors out of their savings and imposed strict capital controls.
This was done in the wake of a manufactured crisis that has razed salaries and created a severe migrant crisis.
Authorities of Lebanon’s central bank were accused by the UN earlier this year of “human rights violations” and made them responsible for the country’s dire economic crisis, while the World Bank has described their practices as a “Ponzi scheme.”
“A significant portion of people’s savings in the form of deposits at commercial banks have been misused and misspent over the past 30 years,” the World Bank said in its report, adding that Lebanon’s financial elites perpetuated this system, causing the country to accumulate debt “beyond fiscal needs.”
In its own report, the UN said: “The economic crisis was entirely avoidable; indeed, it was manufactured by failed government policies. The country has a political establishment plagued by conflicts of interest with a banking sector and a central bank (Banque du Liban) that are largely unaccountable.”