December 1, 2019 / 8:24 PM / 10 days ago

Lebanese trade minister says central bank was asked to halve interest rates -Al Jadeed

BEIRUT, Dec 1 (Reuters) - Lebanon’s caretaker trade minister, Mansour Bteish, said on Sunday that he and others had asked the central bank governor and commercial banks at a recent meeting to reduce interest rates by roughly half.

Bteish told the Lebanese broadcaster al-Jadeed that the governor, Riad Salameh, had cited data showing that about $4 billion in hard currency had been withdrawn from Lebanese banks since September.

The meeting was called to discuss how to tackle a deep financial crisis. Bteish said it had ruled out a haircut on deposits or a change to the dollar peg that governs the exchange rate of the Lebanese pound.

Reporting by Eric Knecht; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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