Lebanon draft budget applies range of FX rates: Official source

Lebanon draft budget applies range of FX rates: Official source

Lebanon’s draft budget for 2022 applies exchange rates ranging between 15,000 and 20,000 Lebanese pounds per dollar for operating expenses and projects a deficit of 20.8 percent, an official source told Reuters on Friday.

The government is due to begin discussing the draft budget on Monday at its first meeting in more than three months. A copy of the draft budget seen by Reuters projected revenues of 39.15 trillion Lebanese pounds and spending of 49.42 trillion pounds.

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Lebanon is in the throes of what the World Bank has described as one of the world’s sharpest ever economic depressions.

The pound has lost more than 90 percent of its value since the crisis erupted in 2019. The official exchange rate is still 1,500 to the dollar, while the currency is changing hands on a parallel market at around 23,000.

The source said an exchange rate was not mentioned in the draft budget because a range of rates were applied.

The budget included an advance for the state-owned power company, Électricité du Liban (EdL), of up to a maximum of 5.25 trillion Lebanese pounds. The loss-making EdL has cost the public purse billions of dollars for years, adding to a debt mountain that tipped Lebanon into financial crisis.

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