On 20 January 2023, BDL issued three new circulars that make the changing of the official exchange rate to 15,000 LBP from 1,507.5 LBP highly possible by the beginning of February 2023. The three circulars are:
- Intermediate Circular 656 that amends Basic Circular 81 and which stipulates that all loans extended to non-residents should be paid back in the currency by which the loan is denominated and should be executed by transfers from abroad.
- Intermediate Circular 657 that amends Basic Circular 151 and which increases the rate at which USD deposits are exchanged to LBP from 8,000 LBP to 15,000 LBP, and subject to a USD deposit ceiling of 1,600 USD per month.
- Intermediate Circular 658 that amends Basic Circular 158 and which stipulates the monthly payment of 400 USD to eligible USD account holders either in cash or through transfers abroad or to credit cards that can be used abroad, such that total annual payments should not exceed 4,800 USD.
Moreover, an additional monthly payment of 400 USD should be paid in two forms: 50% exchanged to LBP at the exchange rate of 15,000 LBP instead the previous 12,000 LBP; the other 50% also exchanged at 15,000 and paid through debit cards or checks or transfers for the payment of various domestic bills (taxes, phone and electricity bills, etc…); and total annual payment should not exceed the equivalent of 4,800 USD.
All circulars are effective 1/2/2023. Note that none of circulars included the payment of retail USD loans at the new rate of 15,000 LBP instead of the prevailing official rate of 1,507.5 LBP.