Lebanon adopts ‘dollarization’ as currency, economy crumble

Lebanon adopts ‘dollarization’ as currency, economy crumble

While it aims to ease inflation and stabilise the economy, it also threatens to push more people into poverty and deepen the crisis

Moheidein Bazazo changes price tags from Lebanese pound to the dollar in a shop in Beirut, Lebanon. Lebanon began pricing consumer goods in supermarkets in US dollars. — AP

By AP Published: Mon 6 Mar 2023, 2:16 PM

When Moheidein Bazazo opened his Beirut mini-market in 1986, during some of the fiercest fighting in Lebanon’s civil war, he didn’t expect it to thrive. But several years later, he had shelves full of food and needed 12 employees to help him manage a bustling business.

Those days are over. Bazazo now mostly works alone, often in the dark to reduce his electric bill. Regular customers are struggling to make ends meet, and as they buy less so does he, leaving some shelves and refrigerators bare.

With the Lebanese economy in shambles and its currency in free fall, Bazazo spends much of his time trying to keep up with a fluctuating exchange rate. Businesses like his are increasingly leaning on one of the world’s most reliable assets — the US dollar — as a way to cope with the worst financial crisis in its