Imad Chidiac wrote in “Asas Media”: Quiet is the dollar exchange rate. This calm began a week before Eid al-Adha. The exchange rate retreated from the limits of 10,000 liras a few weeks ago, to approximately 7,000 in the last hours, in contrast to the political, economic and financial logic in the country. The French minister left behind an atmosphere indicating the absence of opportunities to help Lebanon, and the American light window to Qatar and other Arab countries to help Lebanon began to recede.
How was the exchange rate not affected by the suspension of negotiations with the International Monetary Fund? Nor did Hezbollah respond in the Shebaa Farms to the assassination of a member in Syria? Not even the frustrating statements made by Jean Yves Le Drian? Not even the senseless response by Prime Minister Hassan Diab to the right of a country desperate to help the Lebanese overcome the stubbornness of their leaders and their instincts? All of these stations were never seen by the exchange rate, and the effect of hibernation and depreciation is one hundred pounds behind a hundred pounds.
This hibernation was not coincidental at all. Rather, it was imposed by “market conditions” that crossed the interests of the money changers and were stronger than that. A banking source revealed to Asas that the stability of the exchange rate is due, in the first degree, to the blessed Eid Al-Adha holiday. Before the holiday, people tend to spend money on preparations.
It is known that the opening of the airport included expatriates and returnees from abroad, as they were detained because of the closure of airports around the world, and well-off expatriates decided to come to Lebanon to spend the months of July, as usual, with the family. And some of them carry thousands of dollars, which means millions, perhaps tens of millions of dollars, will enter Lebanon. It is in the interest of money changers that they lower the exchange rate to buy these dollars at low prices.
Eid also means doing homework, such as buying food and sweets, paying feasts, planning picnics, and leading cafes and restaurants (which have closed this wak and end). These are difficult customs to abandon completely on such an occasion, despite the economic crisis and despite the general mobilization measures imposed by the government. Funds for these duties are often either stored in homes or kissed by Lebanese and expatriates returning to Lebanon for the Eid holiday or the summer vacation. Money Changers have a great interest in “lumping” these dollars off the market at the lowest cost. That is why the “senior people” are pressing them to reduce the exchange rate about a week ago, because price stability creates a state of reassurance among customers and makes them more inclined to fear or hesitate to exchange their dollars. Note that this downward exchange rate trend has resumed since the airport was opened and the launch of the “food basket”, which transferred the process of financing its importers in dollars from cashiers’ hands to banks. All of this increased the level of the dollar’s supply at the expense of demand, which contributed significantly to the imposition of stability in the “black market”, even temporarily.
A banking source revealed another additional reason that often contributes to curbing the exchange rate during specific days of each month, which intersects with the Eid al-Adha holiday this year. As the dollar exchange rate falls during the days from the end of each month to the beginning of the following month. The interest of money changers also requires, during these days, to reduce the price to earn the dollars of employees who work with external parties and receive their salaries “Fresh Money” from banks. In addition to these are elements of “Hezbollah” who also receive the dollars of “cash”, and some of the first entitlements each month that are forced Savers of dollars to exchange some in Lebanese pounds to pay.
These, like all Lebanese, mean the beginning of each month the shops and malls to shop and meet the needs of their homes from food and drink. They need the Lebanese pound to complete this process, and therefore there is no possibility of that except by spending these dollars directly with the exchange, because unlike banks, they hold the highest pricing in the “parallel market”.
Therefore, all of the aforementioned undoubtedly confirms that the dollar exchange game is held by money changers, at least at this stage. It is no longer a secret that the “black market” does not exceed the margin of 10% of the market value, just as the Governor of the Banque du Liban Riad Salama tried to explain and confirm this more than once. But on the other hand, this market is the one that determines the fate of the Lebanese people today, and it is likely to tighten its grip more and more with the signals that are received frequently about “stopping support”, even gradually, because of the inability of the Bank of Lebanon to drain its reserves indefinitely.
Banking sources assure Asas that the dollar exchange rate, after the Eid Al-Adha holiday, for about a week, or maybe two weeks at most, will not remain the same and will witness new heights … so we tie the belts.