BDL replaces Circular 151 with 166; issues Circular 167 on the new ‘bank exchange rate’

On February 2nd, 2024, BDL issued Circular 167 requiring banks and all financial institutions, when preparing their financials, to abide by the international accounting standard IAS21. As important, in converting their monetary assets and liabilities and non-monetary assets denominated in USD to their corresponding value in LBP, to use the new exchange rate announced on BDL’s electronic platform at the time of preparing the financials. The Circular is effective starting 31/1/2024. It is interesting that this Circular was issued before deciding the fate of banks’ deposits at BDL and before enacting a capital-control law.

On the same day as well, BDL issued Circular 166, replacing Circular 151, in which it asked banks to pay USD account holders a monthly $150 as part of the process of USD deposits retrieval by clients, where a new Special Sub-Account will be opened for clients for that purpose. Perhaps more important, payment is conditional in the main on the following:

  • Clients benefiting are those account holders not benefiting from Circular 158
  • In the case of multiple account holdings, only ONE account will benefit
  • Accounts benefiting are those open after 31/10/2019 and accumulated up to 30/6/2023
  • However, not benefiting are accounts that witnessed checks movement after 31/10/2019; also those accounts that saw conversions from LBP to USD after 31/10/2019 in the amount of $300,000 or more, except for sums involving pension fund deposits; and also not benefiting are those accounts that involved loan payments in the amount of $300,000 or more after 31/10/2019
  • In addition, not benefiting are those accounts that benefited from the Sayrafa platform in the amount of $75,000 or more.

Lastly, it is expected that total cost will be in excess of $300 million per year and will be shared equally between banks’ FX liquidity and banks’ foreign currency required reserves held at BDL; and it will be effective immediately up to 30/6/2024, subject to renewal. Interesting to note, that BDL’s dollar conversion rate to banks will continue to be at the rate of 15,000 LPB or thereabouts.

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