News Alerts

18 Nov 2019 | 07:21 PM UTC

Lebanon: Banks to reopen November 19 following week-long closure /update 33

Lebanon News Alert

Banks in Lebanon to resume normal operations on November 19; further protests and associated disruptions expected in coming days

TIMEFRAME expected from 11/18/2019, 12:00 AM until 11/21/2019, 11:59 PM (Asia/Beirut). COUNTRY/REGION Lebanon

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Event

Banks in Lebanon are set to reopen on Tuesday, November 19, following a week-long strike by the Association of Banks in Lebanon. In a televised address on Monday, November 18, the union announced that it will end the strike after its demands for greater security and unified measures were met. Security will reportedly be heightened around banks, and informal capital controls will be instituted. Withdrawals will be limited to USD 1000 per week to protect against capital flight and transfers abroad will be restricted except in cases deemed to be "urgent."

Heightened security measures and disruptions to transportation and businesses are to be expected in major urban centers over the coming days as protests continue. Clashes between protesters and security forces cannot be ruled out.

Context

On October 16-17, the government approved tax hikes on tobacco products as part of its 2020 federal budget, as well as a daily tax on messages and calls done via the WhatsApp mobile phone messenger application. The announcement sparked mass protests across the country on October 17, forcing the government to revoke the tax proposal. Since then, protests have evolved calling for the resignation of the government and have continued despite an emergency reform package announced by Prime Minister Saad Hariri on October 21. On October 29, Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his resignation. Former finance minister, Mohammad Safadi, who was expected to be appointed as Hariri's successor declined on November 17, stating the difficulties to form a legitimate cabinet in this context.

Advice

Individuals in Lebanon are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests and demonstrations as a precaution, anticipate transportation and business disruptions near demonstration sites, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities.

 

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