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Lebanon set to be grey-listed by financial crime watchdog

Lebanon is likely to be placed on a “grey list” of countries under special scrutiny over unsatisfactory practices to prevent money laundering and terrorism financing, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. Being added to the list would be another major blow to a country in a financial tailspin since 2019 and struggling to […]


Lebanon strikes deals to get more oil from Iraq

Lebanon has agreed deals to secure more fuel supplies from Iraq, the two countries said on Tuesday, as Beirut battles to produce more power to help it emerge from years of economic crisis. Baghdad has agreed to increase the volume of heavy fuel oil supplied under an existing deal by 50 percent to 1.5 million […]

Lebanon business

Lebanon’s export orders rise for first time in two years

In spite of an overall decline in business activity, Lebanon recorded an increase in its export orders during April owing to improved currency stability. “Lebanon’s currency started to stabilise, particularly around mid-April,” Wael Menhem, a partner in the Beirut office of Lundy Investors, said. “It’s the first time in a long time that the currency […]

Walid Nassar said Lebanon was focusing on ecological, religious and rural tourism drives

Lebanon’s tourism minister hails $9bn revenues

Lebanon is not relying on International Monetary Fund cash to stay afloat, a government minister has told AGBI, as the tourism sector alone contributed $9 billion in revenue last year.  The IMF reached a staff-level agreement with Lebanon in April 2022 for a $3 billion loan programme to tackle its financial crisis. But progress on […]

People, Person, Adult

US official says Lebanon has ‘no other way out’ than IMF deal

Lebanon has no alternative for economic recovery but to make progress on a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a senior US official said on Thursday. US assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs Barbara Leaf visited Lebanon, which is suffering one of the world’s worst financial meltdowns, according to the World Bank, […]

IMF says Lebanon in ‘dangerous situation’ with reforms stalled

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned on Thursday that Lebanon was in a very dangerous situation a year after it committed to reforms it has failed to implement and said the government must stop borrowing from the central bank. IMF mission chief Ernesto Rigo told a news conference in Beirut that the authorities should accelerate […]

A man counts Lebanese pound banknotes at an exchange shop in Beirut

Lebanon to sell unlimited US dollars to prop up pound

Lebanon’s central bank will begin selling unlimited amounts of US dollars in a bid to halt the spiralling devaluation of the Lebanese pound, governor Riad Salameh said. Salameh set a new rate for Sayrafa, the central bank’s exchange platform, at 90,000 Lebanese pounds per dollar on Tuesday. He set the rate at 70,000 on March […]

Lebanese banks to resume strike on March 14

Lebanon’s commercial banks will resume their open-ended strike on March 14, citing “arbitrary judicial decisions” that had drained their foreign currency reserves. The statement by the Association of the Banks of Lebanon (ABL) said legal measures had allowed borrowers to repay foreign currency loans to the banks at the old official exchange rate of 1,500 […]

A man counts Lebanese pound banknotes at an exchange shop in Beirut

Lebanon banks ‘have no liquidity’ to pay back depositors

Lebanon’s commercial banks do not have enough liquidity to pay back depositors, the secretary general of the country’s banking association said in a letter that laid out the banks’ positions. The letter was signed by the Association of the Banks of Lebanon (ABL)’s Fadi Khalaf and served as the introduction to the ABL’s monthly report. […]

Person, Human, Money

Lebanon’s central bank to sell US dollar at 70,000 pounds

Lebanon’s central bank said on Wednesday it would sell US dollars in cash at a rate of 70,000 pounds per dollar on its Sayrafa platform starting on March 2 and until further notice. The surprise announcement came as the parallel market exchange rate for the Lebanese pound hit an all-time low of 90,000 per US […]

Swiss regulator investigates 12 banks in Lebanon corruption case

Switzerland’s financial regulator has investigated 12 banks and launched enforcement proceedings against two of them in relation to corruption charges against longtime central banker Riad Salameh, it said on Monday. Lebanese authorities charged Salameh, his brother Raja and one of his assistants on Thursday with money laundering, embezzlement and illicit enrichment after months of delay […]

Lebanon central bank governor faces new embezzlement charges

Lebanese authorities charged longtime central bank governor Riad Salameh, his brother Raja and one of his assistants on Thursday with money laundering, embezzlement and illicit enrichment after months of delay in the high-profile case. But the development has also prompted fears that authorities in Lebanon, where Salameh retains high-level political backing, could slow down cooperation […]

The Russia-Ukraine war continues near the frontline town of Bakhmut on February 21

One year on, what the war in Ukraine means for the Middle East

A year since Russia invaded Ukraine, the war’s impacts are reverberating across the Middle East and North Africa.  While some Gulf oil producers have prospered during the conflict, it has heaped suffering on some of the most fragile and volatile economies in the region.  “It has contributed to the difficulties in Egypt and the worsening […]

Lebanon minister says tough to replace central bank chief

Lebanese finance minister Youssef Khalil said replacing central bank governor Riad Salameh, who has held the job for three decades, would be difficult and that his term may be extended though no consensus has yet been reached. Salameh, who is being investigated by European and Lebanese prosecutors for alleged embezzlement of hundreds of millions of […]

Lebanese depositors smash up and burn Beirut banks

Several dozen Lebanese protesters attacked banks in a Beirut neighbourhood on Thursday, while blocking roads protesting against informal restrictions on cash withdrawals in place for years and rapidly deteriorating economic conditions. At least six banks had been targeted as the Lebanese pound hit a new record low on Thursday, a spokesperson for Depositors Outcry, a […]

The parlous state of the Lebanese economy has led to protests over the past 12 months

Lebanese businesses learning to live with dollarisation

Lebanon’s pound, which has fallen 98 percent against the dollar on the black market, will depreciate further unless policymakers enact meaningful reforms and restructure the country’s moribund financial industry.  Such actions seem unlikely, with Lebanon’s caretaker government seemingly unable to resolve an economic crisis the World Bank describes as among the worst since the 1850s. […]

Lebanese banks to start open-ended strike for judicial reforms

Banks in Lebanon will start an open-ended strike from Tuesday but will keep ATMs operating for basic services, the Lebanese Banks Association said, urging authorities to pass overdue measures to deal with a deep financial crisis. The decision came after a meeting by the association to discuss judicial measures against banks that have snowballed since […]

Well drilling in Lebanon’s offshore block 9 to begin in Q3 2023

TotalEnergies is keen to start work on Lebanon’s offshore block 9 “as soon as possible”, with assessments to begin early next month and well-drilling to launch in the third quarter of 2023, its CEO Patrick Pouyanne said. Pouyanne was speaking at a joint news conference in Beirut after signing a three-way consortium deal with QatarEnergy […]

Lebanon sets new rate for withdrawals from dollar deposits

Lebanon’s central bank said on Thursday it had set a new rate of 15,000 Lebanese pounds to the US dollar for withdrawals from bank deposits denominated in dollars, but which can now can be accessed largely in the local currency. The rate was previously set at 8,000 pounds under central bank Circular 151, which implied […]

Food security

$5.5m initiative for food security in Mediterranean countries

A new $5.5 million package of technical assistance to improve food security in Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and the West Bank and Gaza has been agreed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. The joint initiative, which will be launched in January, is […]