The Banque du Liban has $14 billion in liquidity in reserve


  Chronic protests denouncing the policies of the Banque du Liban and the performance of the banking sector (Anatolia)</p><div><p>announce <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noopener">Governor of the Banque du Liban, Riad Salameh</a>, that the Central Bank now has 14 billion dollars of available liquidity in hard currency reserves, revealing that Lebanon has not yet provided estimates of the size of the losses in its financial system to <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noopener">International Monetary Fund</a> But he is working hard to sign a memorandum of understanding with the fund by the end of the year.

In an interview with “Reuters”, published on Tuesday, Salameh reiterated his denial of any wrongdoing, while judicial authorities in France and Switzerland are investigating allegations money laundering his right. Salameh said that the program International Monetary Fund Necessary for Lebanon to get out of the crisis, referring to the external financing that will be released and the discipline that will impose reforms.

He added that so the central bank He will accept the casualty figures to be decided by the government. He said, “At this stage, we are still in the process of collecting the data requested by the International Monetary Fund, and the issue of losses – the number of these losses – will not be an obstacle to these negotiations, at least on the part of the central bank.”

In response to a question about whether there was any agreement yet on how to distribute the losses, Salameh said that no decision had been taken, “because we do not yet have the final figures that were agreed upon with the International Monetary Fund for the total losses.”

On when the figure will be ready to be submitted to the International Monetary Fund, Salameh said Prime Minister Najib Mikati has set the deadline for signing a memorandum of understanding with the IMF by the end of 2021, adding: “We are working hard. Not only the central bank. The concerned ministries and the government are working hard. to achieve this deadline.

Disagreements in Lebanon over the assessment of losses and how they are distributed froze talks with the International Monetary Fund last year. The central bank, banks and political elite rejected the figures in the government’s plan endorsed by the IMF at the time.

This issue hindered attempts to find a way out of the crisis that swept Lebanon over the past two years and led to the local currency losing more than 90% of its value, causing a sharp rise in poverty rates and prompting many Lebanese to emigrate.

During the talks that took place last year with the International Monetary Fund, sources said that Salameh was conservative about the size of the losses estimated by the previous government’s plan, which was around $90 billion. Political parties and commercial banks also objected to the figures, considering them exaggerated.

Salameh has held the position of governor of the Banque du Liban since 1993, when Lebanon was trying to get out of the civil war that engulfed it between 1975 and 1990. Since 1997, Salameh has worked to stabilize the exchange rate of the lira against the dollar, which gave support to the import-dependent economy until the financial collapse occurred.

With the onset of the economic crisis at the end of 2019 and the beginning of the collapse of the Lebanese pound, the mandatory reserves of the Central Bank were depleted while the Banque du Liban provided dollars at heavily subsidized exchange rates to finance imports, including fuel, food and medicine.

Salameh indicated that this policy has been gradually canceled as the only imports for which dollars are provided at subsidized prices today are medicines for some chronic diseases and wheat, while the central bank sells dollars for fuel imports at a small discount from the market exchange rate.

“We expect that if we remain on this equation for the next 12 months… the Banque du Liban will have to finance $2.5 billion,” Salameh said, adding that the central bank may recover between $300 million and $500 million from an exchange platform for transferring foreign commissions in the same time. Period.

Reserves have recently risen with Lebanon receiving more than $1 billion in Special Drawing Rights from the International Monetary Fund. Salameh is under investigation by authorities in four European countries, including a Swiss investigation, over allegations of “money laundering” at the Banque du Liban involving profits of $300 million for a company owned by his brother, Raja Salameh.

Salameh said last week that he had ordered an audit of the transactions and investments that were the focus of media reports, and that the results of the financial audit showed that public funds were not used to pay fees and commissions to the company owned by his brother.

Salameh gave a copy of the financial audit to the prime minister last week, but declined to provide Reuters with a copy of the audit he said a well-known firm had conducted. He said, “It is clear in this report that there was no embezzlement or money laundering on my part or at my direction in the Central Bank.”



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