Lebanese Pound
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Lebanese Pound
Lebanese pound
? ? (Arabic)
livre libanaise (French)
Billet de 1000 livres libanaises.jpg
Billet 1000 Lebanese Pounds, written in Arabic on one side and French on the other side
ISO 4217
CodeLBP
Denominations
Subunit
 ​piastre
Symbol?.?.
LL (international)
Banknotes1,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000, 100,000 Lebanese Pounds
CoinsFrequently used: 250, 500 Rarely used: 25, 50, 100
Demographics
User(s) Lebanon
Issuance
Banque du Liban
 Websitewww.bdl.gov.lb
Valuation
Inflation4.5%
 SourceThe World Factbook, 2017 est.
Pegged withU.S. dollar
$1 US = 1507.5 LBP[1]
Black market exchange rate has diverged significantly; see article text

The Lebanese Pound (Arabic: ? ?l?ra Libn?niyya; French: livre libanaise; sign: ?.?.‎, ISO 4217: LBP) is the currency of Lebanon. It used to be divided into 100 piastres (or qirsh) but high inflation during the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990) eliminated the need for subdivisions. The Lebanese Pound is also known as the Lebanese Lira.

The plural form of lira, as used on the currency, is either lirat ( l?r?t) or invariant, whilst there were four forms for qirsh: the dual qirsh?n () used with number 2, the plural qurush (?) used with numbers 3-10, the accusative singular qirshan (?) used with 11-99, and the genitive singular qirshi () used with multiples of 100. The number determines which plural form is used. Before the Second World War, the Arabic spelling of the subdivision was (girsh). All of Lebanon's coins and banknotes are bilingual in Arabic and French.

Since December 1997 the exchange rate has been fixed at 1,507.5 Lebanese Pounds per U.S. dollar.[2] However since the 2020 economic crisis in Lebanon exchange at this rate is generally unavailable, and an informal currency market has developed with much higher exchange rates.[3]

History

Before World War I, the Ottoman lira was used. In 1918, after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the currency became the Egyptian pound. Upon gaining control of Syria and Lebanon, the French replaced the Egyptian pound with a new currency for Syria and Lebanon, the Syrian pound, which was linked to the French franc at a value of 1 pound = 20 francs. Lebanon issued its own coins from 1924 and banknotes from 1925. In 1939, the Lebanese currency was officially separated from that of Syria, though it was still linked to the French franc and remained interchangeable with Syrian money. In 1941, following France's defeat by Nazi Germany, the currency was linked instead to the British pound sterling at a rate of 8.83 Lebanese Pounds = 1 pound sterling.[4] A link to the French franc was restored after the war but was abandoned in 1949.

Before the Lebanese Civil War, 1 U.S. dollar was worth 3 Lebanese Pounds. During the Lebanese Civil War the value decreased rapidly until 1992, when one US Dollar was worth over 2500 Lebanese Pounds. Subsequently the value increased again, and since December 1997 the rate of the Lebanese Pound has been fixed at 1507.5 Lebanese Pounds per US$.[2]

In August 2019, pressure on the fixed exchange rate with the U.S. dollar started, creating a parallel rate in the market. The two-rate market is a textbook case of weakening Central Bank reserves that are not able to defend the official exchange rate. Continuous financial pressures driven by unsustainable sovereign debt, high trade deficit and deposit outflows due to loss of confidence are threatening the peg for the first time since 1992.[5]

As of 1 July 2020, one U.S. dollar was quoted at over 9,000 Lebanese Pounds in the black market in Beirut.[6]

Coins

Lebanon's first coins were issued in 1924 in denominations of 2 and 5 girush (note the different spelling from post WWII coins) with the French denominations given in "piastres syriennes" (Syrian piastres). Later issues did not include the word "syriennes" and were in denominations of ​, 1, 2, ​, 5, 10, 25 and 50 girsha. During World War II, rather crude ​, 1 and ​ girsh coins were issued.

After the war, the Arabic spelling was changed from girsh () to qirsh (). Coins were issued in the period 1952 to 1986 in denominations of 1, ​, 5, 10, 25 and 50 qirsh and 1 lira. No coins were issued between 1986 and 1994, when the current series of coins was introduced.

Coins in current use are:[7]

Coins of the Lebanese Pound
Image Value Technical parameters Color Date of
issue
Obverse Reverse Diameter Thickness Mass Metal
Coins no longer in circulation[8]
5 18 mm 2.2 g Copper-nickel-aluminium Golden yellow 1968
1969
1972
1975
10 21 mm 3.2 g Copper-nickel-aluminium Golden yellow 1968
1969
1970
1972
1975
25 Lebanese Piasters 25 23.5 mm 4 g Copper-nickel-aluminium Golden yellow 1968
1969
1970
1972
1975
1980
Fifty Lebanese Piasters 50 ? 24 mm 6 g Nickel White nickel 1968
1969
1970
1971
1975
1978
1980
1 ?.?. 27.5 mm 8 g Nickel White nickel 1975
1977
1980
1981
27 mm 7.22 g Nickel-plated steel White nickel 1986
Coins in circulation[7]
25 ?.?. 20.5 mm 1.3 mm 2.8 g Nickel-plated steel White nickel 2002
50 Livres Libanaise 50 ?.?. 19 mm 1.15 mm 2.25 g Stainless steel White nickel 1996
21.5 mm 1.67 mm 3g Nickel-plated steel 2006
Lebanon 100 livres 2000 obv.jpg Lebanon 100 livres 2000 rev.jpg 100 ?.?. 22.5 mm 1.80 mm 4 g Zinc and copper Red copper 1995
1996
2000
100rectoSilver.png 100versoSilver.png 100 ?.?. 22.5 mm 1.83 mm 4 g Steel and nickel White 2003
100 ?.?. 22.5 mm 1.80 mm
1.60 mm
4 g Steel and copper Red copper 2006
2009
250 Lebanese Pounds - Back.jpg 250 Lebanese Pounds - Front.jpg 250 ?.?. 23.5 mm 1.82 mm 5 g Copper and aluminium Yellow gold 1995
1996
2000
2003
1.65 mm Nordic Gold Nordic Gold 2006
2009
2012
500 Lebanese Pounds - Minted 2009 - Backside.jpg 500 Lebanese Pounds.jpg 500 ?.?. 24.5 mm 2.05 mm 6 g Nickel-plated steel White 1995
1996
2000
2003
2006
2009
2012
For table standards, see the coin specification table.

Banknotes

An obsolete 100 Lebanese Pound note

Lebanon's first banknotes were issued by the Banque du Syrie et Grand-Liban (Bank of Syria and Greater Lebanon) in 1925. Denominations ran from 25 girsha through to 100 pounds. In 1939, the bank's name was changed to the Bank of Syria and Lebanon. The first 250 Lebanese Pound notes appeared that year. Between 1942 and 1950, the government issued "small change" paper money in denominations of 5, 10, 25 and 50 girsh or qirsh (the change in spelling occurred during these years). After 1945, the Bank of Syria and Lebanon continued to issue paper money for Lebanon but the notes were denominated specifically in "Lebanese Pounds" (? ?, livre libanaise) to distinguish them from Syrian notes. Notes for 1, 5, 10, 25, 50 and 100 Lebanese Pounds were issued.

The Banque du Liban (Bank of Lebanon) was established by the Code of Money and Credit on 1 April 1964.[9] On 1 August 1963 decree No. 13.513 of the "Law of References: Banque Du Liban 23 Money and Credit" granted the Bank of Lebanon the sole right to issue notes in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, and 250 Lebanese Pounds, expressed in Arabic on the front, and French (livres) on the back. Higher denominations were issued in the 1980s and 1990s as inflation drastically reduced the currency's value.

Banknotes in current use are:

Circulating banknotes[10]
Image Value Dimensions Main color Date of issue
1,000 ?.?. 156 × 67 mm Teal 1988
1990
1991
1992
Billete de mil libras libanesas.jpg 115 × 60 mm 2004
2008
2011
2012
5,000 ?.?. 156 × 67 mm Pink 1994
1995
140 × 70 mm 1999
2001
120 × 62 mm 2004
2008
2012
10,000 ?.?. 145 × 73 mm Yellow 1998
127 × 66 mm 2004
2008
2012
20,000 ?.?. 150 × 80 mm Red 1994
1995
2001
130 × 72 mm 2004
2012
50,000 ?.?. 150 × 80 mm Blue 1994
1995
1999
2001
140 × 77 mm 2004
2011
2012
100,000 ?.?. 161 × 90 mm Green 1994
1995
1999
2001
147 × 82 mm 2004
2011
2012
For table standards, see the banknote specification table.

All current notes feature an Arabic side with the value in Arabic script numerals of large size. The other side is in French with the serial number in both Arabic and Latin script and in bar code below the latter one.

Devaluation

Since September 2019, the exchange rate has forked into multiple distinct rates due to Lebanon's banking sector collapse. Within 6 months, 6 distinct Lebanese Pound rates were defined against the US Dollar, officially and unofficially. On October 1, 2020 they were valued at:

  • Official Government Rate = 1,507.5
  • Official Syndicate Rate = 3,850-3,900
  • "Lollar" (bank withdrawals of USD in LBP) = 3,900
  • Parallel Market Rate = 3,800
  • Banker's Cheque Rate = 33c/$
  • Black Market Rate = 8,250-8,400.[11][12]

See also

References

  1. ^ "About Banque du Liban | History of Banque du Liban". www.bdl.gov.lb. Retrieved 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Economic & Financial Data". Banque du Liban. Archived from the original on 2013-03-12. Retrieved .
  3. ^ "Lebanese banks raise USD withdrawal rate to 3,850 pounds/dollar". Reuters. 29 June 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  4. ^ "Payment Media, Banknotes and Coins - The Historical Development of the Lebanese Pound". Banque du Liban. Archived from the original on 2008-12-26. Retrieved .
  5. ^ "Lebanese Lira Rate & History". The961. Retrieved .
  6. ^ "Lebanese pound plummets to new low as airport reopens". The Daily Star. July 1, 2020. Retrieved .
  7. ^ a b "Coins in Circulation". Banque du Liban. Retrieved 2020.
  8. ^ "Coins Out of Circulation". Banque du Liban. Retrieved 2020.
  9. ^ Linzmayer, Owen (2012). "Lebanon". The Banknote Book. San Francisco, CA: www.BanknoteNews.com.
  10. ^ "Banknotes in Circulation". www.bdl.gov.lb. Banque du Liban. Retrieved 2020.
  11. ^ "Daily (official and unofficial) exchange rate development between mid October 2019 and August 20 2020" (PDF). WFP. 20 August 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  12. ^ "Lebanese Lira Exchange Rates & Values against the US Dollar". LebaneseLira.org. 1 October 2020. Retrieved 2020.

External links


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