Lebanese central bank slashes interest rates amid crisis

A woman uses ATM outside a bank, as a Lebanese policeman stands guard, in Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019. Lebanon’s worsening financial cri...

A woman uses ATM outside a bank, as a Lebanese policeman stands guard, in Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019. Lebanon’s worsening financial cri...

BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon’s central bank says it’s dramatically lowering interest rates on dollar and Lebanese pound deposits and loans as part of measures to deal with a burgeoning economic crisis.

Wednesday’s decision comes as Lebanon, the world’s third most indebted country, faces an unprecedented economic and political crisis amid nearly 50 days of nationwide protests.

A notice from the Banque de Liban says it slashed interest rates on dollar deposits to 5%, down from as high as 14%.

Banks had closed for nearly two weeks at the start of protests in mid-October. There was a run on the banks after they reopened and the local currency lost nearly 40% of its value. The government then resigned on Oct. 29 and a new one has yet to be named.