Lebanon Daily News Brief 6/29/2021

Tuesday, June 29, 2021


Gasoline and Fuel Prices Increase 35 Percent
Following caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab approval, the central bank opened credit lines to import fuel at the new higher exchanger rate of LL3,900 to the dollar instead of the previous LL1,507 rate. [Reuters] Today, Lebanon’s energy minister raised gasoline and fuel prices by 35 percent and the price of gasoline reached LL62,000/20 liters. [AP] In an attempt to urge Lebanese to remain calm, a representative of Lebanon’s fuel distributors said that six ships have started to unload fuel and that distribution to gas stations will begin soon. [The 961]

Banks Close After Assault on Lebanese Swiss Bank
After the Lebanese Swiss Bank was assaulted yesterday during protests, it issued a statement that it would close its branches and offices today. Banks throughout Lebanon are closing in solidarity. The Lebanese Swiss Bank said about 100 men stormed its headquarters and forced employees to transfer money to Turkey. [Reuters]

Lebanese Pound Hit New Low Over the Weekend
Black market dealers exchanged Lebanese pounds today for LL17,300 to the dollar and bought dollars at LL17,200. On Saturday the pound reached a record low value of 17,950. [The Daily Star]


Middle East Institute
Lebanon’s Cautious But Contagious Electoral Optimism
Christophe Abi-Nassif

Abi-Nassif writes: “Since the Lebanese protest movement erupted in October 2019, alternative political groups have been scoring increasingly frequent wins against establishment parties in student and syndicate elections…To both inside and outside observers, the hypothesis that fair and transparent elections with a united opposition won’t make a difference is now weakened at worst, dispelled at best…The electoral battles that secular alternative political parties have been waging and winning over the past few months reflect the cautious but contagious optimism that change, even if partial, can come through the ballot box in 2022. With the current establishment expected to actually call for and hold these elections, and alternative political parties expected to capitalize on recent gains and lessons learned, the ball is now in both courts.”

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the American Task Force on Lebanon, a non-profit, nonpartisan leadership organization of Lebanese-Americans.