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IMF Talks Stall as Financial Implosion Looms for Lebanon

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Lebanon had been in talks with the IMF for a $10 billion bailout to overhaul its economy after its local currency lost some 80% of its value on the black market. The Lebanese government had outlined a bailout plan that estimated losses incurred by the central bank and local lenders at 241 trillion pounds ($69 billion), based on an exchange rate of 3,500 to the dollar, more than two times the official peg of 1,507.50. Subsequently the currency spiked to 9,500 per USD this week.

But now Lebanon’s talks with the IMF are on hold pending the start of economic reforms and agreement on the Lebanese side on a common approach for calculating losses, Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni said.

“What is being worked on today is defining the losses and their size in all sectors,” Wazni said. “We must come up with a unified approach agreed upon with all political forces and in coordination between the government and parliament.”

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