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Syrian Pound Falls to Record Low after Lebanon Crisis

Syrian Pound Falls to Record Low after Lebanon Crisis

Monday, 25 November, 2019 - 07:15
An employee stamps stacks of Syrian pound notes at the Syrian central bank in Damascus April 23, 2013. REUTERS/Khaled al-Hariri

The Syrian pound fell to a record law mainly due to the lack of US dollars in neighboring Lebanon and the ongoing anti-government street protests that erupted there on Oct. 17.

The devaluation of the Syrian pound comes also in light of tighter Western sanctions on the country.

On the black market on Sunday, the Syrian pound was trading at 766 to the dollar for purchase and 768 for sale, according to the Facebook page of the website Syria Stocks.

Employees in the exchange market told Asharq Al-Awsat that this rate is the lowest in Syria’s history.

At the start of the war in 2011, the rate stood at around 48 pounds to the dollar.

One of the employees said that the developments in Lebanon have greatly contributed to the devaluation of the Syrian pound.

“In the past few weeks, several Lebanese citizens were seen buying dollars from the Syrian market, increasing the demand on the US currency and therefore causing the devaluation of the Syrian pound,” the employee said.

An economic expert told Asharq Al-Awsat that after the start of the war in Syria, many Syrian merchants and businessmen made deposits mainly in foreign currencies in Lebanese banks.

The Association of Banks in Lebanon agreed last week a set of temporary directives for commercial banks including a $1,000 cap on weekly withdrawals from US dollar accounts.

“This new decision in Lebanon has forced the Syrian merchants and businessmen to greatly limit the amount of US dollars they were sending to Syria, and therefore, increase the dollar demand, causing the devaluation of the Syrian pound,” the expert said.

There is no accurate data on the amount of deposits made by Syrians in Lebanese banks; however, experts predict they range between 10-15 billion dollars.

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