The Lebanese pound (LBP} has been issued by Lebanon's central bank, the Bank of Lebanon, as the nation's official currency for over sixty years following a period of joint currency with Syria linked to the French franc. Although volatile during recent civil wars, the Lebanese pound (ticker symbol LBP) has recently stabilized in value due to its fixed peg with the U.S. dollar and the conservative monetary policy of the central bank's governor, Riad Salamé.
Lebanon began issuing its own money named the Lebanese Pound in 1949, a year after termininating an agreement with France, its former colonial ruler, that had linked Lebanon's previous currency, the Lebanese-Syria pound (LSP), to the franc (FFR). The LSP's rate was fixed at 20 to the FFR until 1939 and joint Lebanese-Syria pound banknotes were issued until 1948, the year Lebanon's parliament passed the Money and Credit Code that established both the Bank of Lebanon (BofL) and the Lebanese pound.
The currency's recent history has been turbulent, especially during the protracted civil wars of the 1970s and 1980s but has since stabilized. The Lebanese pound was first pegged to the U.S. dollar (USD) in 1999, a policy widely credited with restoring the currency's stability and political support. Currently its value is around 1,500 LBP to the USD.
The BofL currently issues 14 denominations of LBP banknotes a value of one LBP up to 100,000 - including the 1,000 pound note shown above - and five denominations of LBP coins up to 500 LBP. The Lebanese pound is divided into 100 piastres and the BofL issues four denominations of piastre coins, the lowest with a value of five piastres and the highest 50 piastres.
Bank of Lebanon Governor Riad Salamé recently cited the Lebanese pound's stability as a key economic factor likely to drive Lebanon's economic growth at around 4% for 2009. He added that the BofL expects retail deposits of Lebanese pounds in local banks to increase more than 12% annually for 2009 despite last year's global financial crisis.
- Lebanese Pound (LBP). AME.
- The Historical Development of the Lebanese Pound. Banque du Liban.
- Background Note: Lebanon. U.S. State Department.
- LEBANESE CURRENCY COINS. Banque du Liban.
- Salameh sees Lebanon's growth rate at 4 percent by end-2009. Daily Star.