On April 3rd, 2020 the Lebanese central bank (the “BDL”) issued basic circular number 145 (basic decision No: 13215) (the “Circular”) enacting an exceptional framework that enables some small depositors to withdraw their cash balance in Lebanese Pounds at market rate for three months only, as follows:
Depositors whose bank account(s) balance (irrespective of the type and maturity of such accounts) do not exceed an aggregate of (i) $3,000 (three thousand U.S. Dollars) or (ii) its equivalent in any other foreign currency or (iii) LBP 5,000,000 (five million Lebanese Pounds) on the date of the Circular, and after having settled any and all debt due to the bank, may:
- Convert their U.S. Dollar deposits into Lebanese Pounds at the then market exchange rate, and withdraw such amounts in cash; or
- Convert their Lebanese Pound deposits into U.S. Dollars at the official BDL exchange rate (i.e. 1,500) then re-convert such amounts into Lebanese Pounds at the then market exchange rate, and withdraw them in cash.
The U.S. Dollars resulting from such operations, would be sold by the relevant banks to the BDL at the same market exchange rate.
The Circular imposes one additional condition on depositors who may only carry out either of the aforementioned operations on the entirety of their accounts, in one shot, and all other foreign exchange operations shall remain subject to the official BDL exchange rate.
The Circular is for three months from the date of its issuance.
Click here to download the full circular.