The Association of Banks in Lebanon (ABL) expressed its support for the Central Bank’s long standing policy of maintaining a strong Lebanese pound after the currency came under growing pressure with the political deterioration in the Middle East. ABL said there are no reasons that would call for abandoning the 9-year old policy of supporting a stable pound, adding that devaluation would not solve any problem. Further, ABL member-banks informed Governor Riyad Salameh that they would continue to subscribe to Lebanese treasury bills despite renewed tensions with Israel and worsening state finances.
ABL’s General Secretary Makram Sader declared that banks were comfortable with the commitment of the Central Bank to defend the currency and shared its conviction that a transition of power to a new government would go smoothly this month. He said the current interest rates level was just right and the Central Bank showed no inclination to raise it. The Central Bank is estimated to have spent around $170 million defending the currency last week after Israel and Lebanon exchanged belligerent threats and violence in the West Bank, Gaza and Israel reached its highest level in years. — (Lebanon Invest)