(Adds information from central bank source)
BEIRUT, April 27 (Reuters) – The Lebanese central bank will set an exchange rate of 3,200 pounds per dollar to be applied by money transfer firms starting from Tuesday until further notice, a central bank source said.
The rate set for Monday is 3,800 Lebanese pounds per dollar, the source said. The central bank set an exchange rate of 3,625 pounds on Friday, the first time it set the rate for wire transfer firms.
It was Lebanon’s latest move away from the official pegged rate of 1,507.5 pounds that has been in place since 1997 and is still used for vital imports.
“Starting tomorrow (Tuesday) every day it will be at 3,200 until further notice,” the central bank source told Reuters.
The pound has crumbled during a financial and banking crisis which is widely considered to be the biggest risk to stability since the Lebanon’s 1975-90 civil war, undermining faith in the economy and the dollar peg.
Money transfer offices, used by many Lebanese abroad to send money to relatives at home, had previously dispensed transfers in dollars but hard currency has grown scarce since the crisis began.
With dollars in short supply, the central bank this month said money-transfer services must issue cash in pounds at a “market rate” and this week said withdrawals from dollar bank accounts must take place in pounds also at market rates. (Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Toby Chopra and Raissa Kasolowsky)
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