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Lebanon central bank cuts rates to ease country’s worst financial crisis

AFP
Beirut
Lebanon’s central bank on Thursday told commercial banks to lower interest rates on dollar and Lebanese pound deposits in the latest attempt to ease the country’s worst financial crisis in decades.
The central bank imposed a temporary interest cap of 4 percent on dollar deposits and 7.5 percent on Lebanese pound deposits, according to a circular seen by AFP.
It was the second time in two months that the central bank has taken such a measure.
Earlier in December, it capped interest rates on dollar and local currency deposits at 5 and 8.5 percent respectively.
The latest reduction comes weeks after Lebanon’s finance minister, Ghazi Wazni, called for slashed rates to “spur economic activity and to ease pressure on public finances”.
A banking source close to the matter said the latest central bank measure was part “of a more comprehensive economic rescue plan”.
The source asked not to be named because he is not authorised to speak on the issue.
The new prime minister, Hassan Diab, has said his cabinet would draw up an emergency rescue plan for the country by the end of the month.