The central bank issued on April 21, 2020 a circular No. 151, allowing each depositor with foreign currency accounts exceeding $3,000 in value, to withdraw cash in Lebanese lira at market rate on the condition that the withdrawals do not exceed $5,000 per month and only at the client’s request. Moreover, BDL did not mention lower caps, leaving it to every bank to decide the cap according to its capabilities noting that the resolution is valid for six months. Worth mentioning that the decision does not apply to ‘fresh money’ which can still be withdrawn in their original foreign currency.
Lebanon has been struggling with a severe dollar shortage since inflows dried up as the country’s political and economic crises deepened last year, prompting lenders to at first limit withdrawals and then effectively stop operating with the USD.