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Monetary impact of Lebanon crisis limited, central bank governor says

Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri, left, greets his supporters upon his arrival at his home in Beirut on November 22. Hariri said he was putting his resignation on hold at President Michel Aoun’s request — a move analysts described as a positive outcome of Saudi Arabia’s high-octane diplomacy. (AFP)
BEIRUT: Lebanon’s central bank governor Riad Salameh said on Thursday that the monetary impact of a political crisis in Lebanon was limited and there was monetary stability.
Salameh was speaking at the Annual Arab Banking Conference in Beirut on Thursday a day after Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri shelved his decision to resign, easing the political crisis.
Asked by Reuters on the sidelines how much the crisis had cost Lebanon, Salameh said there was a cost to supporting the peg of the Lebanese pound against the dollar, “but we were already prepared.”
“Today the markets are different ... there is a reversal in the markets,” he said, adding that the cost would now diminish.
“Today the market reversed, we are buying dollars.”
Central banks maintain a currency peg by buying or selling the national currency on currency markets.
Salameh declined to say how much had been spent supporting the Lebanese pound. “Usually we don’t give our figures for intervention,” he said.

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