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Lebanon Banking Body Tells Depositors ’No Need to Panic’
By Staff, Agencies
Lebanese bank deposits are safe and there is no need to panic, the head of the banking association said on Saturday, seeking to calm nerves about restrictions on some withdrawals imposed after nationwide protests.
Already facing the worst economic crisis since the 1975-90 civil war, Lebanon has been pitched deeper into turmoil since Oct. 17 by a wave of rallies against the ruling elite that led Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri to resign on Oct. 29.
Since reopening a week ago, banks have been seeking to stave off capital flight by blocking most transfers abroad and imposing curbs on hard-currency withdrawals, though the central bank has announced no formal capital controls.
“We confirm that depositors’ money is safe and what is happening has nothing to do with solvency and therefore, no need to panic,” the head of the Association of Banks in Lebanon, Salim Sfeir, told a press conference.
Sfeir spoke after meeting Lebanese President Michel Aoun, the ministers of finance and economy, the central bank governor and other officials over the economic situation.
In recent days, importers of fuel, wheat and medicine have said they faced difficulty securing the foreign currency needed for their purchases.
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