Half of the Lebanese population now relies on humanitarian aid, according to the UN. And some residents are robbing their own banks to reclaim their savings.
In response to the economic crisis in Lebanon, many merchants are displaying prices in US dollars instead of Lebanese pounds (illustration). (HUSSAM SHBARO / ANADOLU AGENCY)?.
In Lebanon, the national currency is on the verge of disappearing. Whereas before the start of the economic crisis in 2019, the largest bill – 100,000 Lebanese pounds – was worth 70 euros, it has now fallen below the symbolic barrier of 1 euro. Therefore, it has lost 98% of its value.
In response to extreme devaluation, many merchants now prefer to display prices in US dollars. “We gradually switched over with the crisis, from Lebanese pounds to US dollars,” Karim said while shopping in an east Beirut supermarket. “It’s more convenient, because before we had to come to the supermarket with bundles of money. Now we can pay in dollars. Because we import everything in the end, the country produces nothing. So these are the real prices displayed in supermarkets. The rest was just a lie,” the fifty-year-old believes.