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Lebanon central bank chief seeks to ease demand for dollars

September 30, 2019 GMT
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Anti-government protesters on a scooter pass tires that were set on fire to block a road during a demonstration, in Beirut, Lebanon, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019. Hundreds of Lebanese are protesting an economic crisis that has worsened over the past two weeks, with a drop in the local currency for the first time in more than two decades. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)
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Anti-government protesters on a scooter pass tires that were set on fire to block a road during a demonstration, in Beirut, Lebanon, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019. Hundreds of Lebanese are protesting an economic crisis that has worsened over the past two weeks, with a drop in the local currency for the first time in more than two decades. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon’s central bank governor says the bank will secure foreign currency for some imports in a move that is expected to ease the demand for hard currency.

Riad Salameh’s comments on Monday came a day after hundreds protested in Beirut and elsewhere in Lebanon over a worsening economic crisis, compounded by worries that Lebanon’s dollar-reliant currency is losing value for the first time in more than two decades.

Lebanon is facing a deep-running fiscal crisis as it staggers under one of the highest debt ratios in the world, at $86 billion — or more than 150% of the country’s gross domestic product.

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Salameh said after meeting President Michel Aoun that the central bank will secure foreign currency needs of the private and public sectors, according to official prices.