Lebanese Officials Seek to Curb Pound Plunge as Outrage Swells

Lebanon’s president said Monday “foreign sides” and speculators were behind a plunge in the exchange rate that’s ignited days of angry street protests and road closures.

During a meeting with financial and security officials, President Michel Aoun asked security agencies to expose those seeking to harm Lebanon by undermining its financial position, according to the official Twitter account of the presidency.

Officials who attended the meeting asked security personnel to arrest speculators at licensed and unlicensed exchange bureaus and shut down online applications that post daily updates of the black market exchange rate, which has exceeded 10,000 pounds per U.S. dollar in recent days. The official rate is about 1,507 pounds per dollar.

“What’s happening has dangerous repercussions on social security and national security and rapid accounting, financial, judicial and security measures should be taken to pursue those speculating on the livelihoods of the Lebanese,” he said.

Protesters used burning tires to block major highways around Lebanon Monday, partially paralyzing a country that’s already witnessing its worst financial crisis in decades. A dispute between rival politicians that has delayed the formation of a new cabinet since a blast destroyed parts of Beirut in August and killed more than 200 people.

Lebanon Central Bank Investigating Rise in Black Market FX Rate

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