Lebanese pound

Last updated
Lebanese pound
Billet de 1000 livres libanaises.jpg
LL 1,000 note, using Arabic on the obverse and French on the reverse
ISO 4217
CodeLBP (numeric:422)
Subunit 0.01
Symbol None official. The abbreviation LL or ل.ل. is used
1100 piastre
BanknotesLL 1,000, LL 5,000, LL 10,000, LL 20,000, LL 50,000, LL 100,000
CoinsLL 250, LL 500
User(s)Flag of Lebanon.svg  Lebanon
Central bank Banque du Liban
Website www.bdl.gov.lb
Inflation 90% (+)
Source The Global Economy , 2020
Pegged with U.S. dollar [1]
note Dual exchange rate system (Sayrafa) in effect as of June 2021

The pound or lira (Arabic : ليرة لبنانيةlīra Libnāniyya; French: livre libanaise; abbreviation: LL [2] in Latin, ل.ل. in Arabic, historically also £L, [3] ISO code: LBP) is the currency of Lebanon. It was formerly divided into 100 piastres (or qirsh in Arabic) but because of high inflation during the Lebanese Civil War (1975–1990) the use of subunits was discontinued.


The plural form of lira, as used in relation to the currency, is either lirat (ليرات līrāt) or invariant, whilst there were four forms for qirsh: the dual qirshān (قرشان) used with number 2, the plural qurush (قروش) used with numbers 3–10, the accusative singular qirshan (قرشا) used with 11–99, and the genitive singular qirshi (قرش) used with multiples of 100. The number determines which plural form is used. Before World War II, the Arabic spelling of the subdivision was غرش (girsh). All of Lebanon's coins and banknotes are bilingual in Arabic and French.

From December 1997 through January 2023, the exchange rate was been fixed at LL 1,507.50 per US dollar. [4] However, since the 2020 economic crisis in Lebanon exchange at this rate was generally unavailable, and an informal currency market developed with much higher exchange rates. [5] On 1 February 2023, the Central Bank reset the currency peg at LL 15,000 per US dollar. [6]


Until World War I, the Turkish pound was the currency used in the area. In 1918, after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the Egyptian pound was used. Upon gaining control of Syria and Lebanon, the French replaced the Egyptian pound with a new currency for Syria and Lebanon, the Syrian pound, which was linked to the franc at a value of LS 1 = 20 F. Lebanon issued its own coins from 1924 and banknotes from 1950.[ citation needed ] In 1939, the Lebanese currency was officially separated from that of Syria, though it was still linked to the French franc and remained interchangeable with Syrian money. In 1941, following France's defeat by Nazi Germany, the currency was linked instead to sterling at a rate of LL 8.83 = GBP1.00 [7] A link to the French franc was restored after the war, but was abandoned in 1949.

Before the third phase of the Lebanese Civil War, USD1 was worth:

In 1986 the pound began to fall against the dollar. On 13 June a dollar was worth LL 36.50. two weeks later it was worth LL 47. [8]

During the Civil War, the value decreased rapidly until 1992, when one US dollar was worth over LL 2,500. Subsequently, the value increased again, and since December 1997 the official rate has been fixed at LL 1,507.50 = USD1.00 [4]

In August 2019, pressure on the fixed exchange rate with the US dollar started, creating a parallel market rate.[ citation needed ] In March 2021, the black market rate in Beirut was LL 10,000 = USD1.00 [11] By July 2021, it was around LL 24,000 to the dollar. [12] On 26 May 2022, the value of the Lebanese pound dropped in the black market to LL 35,600 against the US dollar, its lowest value ever, despite the recently held general elections. [13]

On 10 May 2021 the Lebanese Central Bank (BDL) announced the launch of the “Sayrafa” platform, an electronic platform intended to record all Lebanese Pounds foreign exchange transactions and identify the exchange rates at any point in time. [14] The platform was launched in June 2021, and as of August 2022, the sayrafa exchange rate is around 20% less than the unofficial black market rate. [15] From 1 February 2022 the Sayrafa rate became the official US dollar to lira exchange rate for all credit card transactions. [16]


Lebanon's first coins were issued in 1924 in denominations of 2 and 5 piastres (p). Later issues did not include the word "syriennes" and were in denominations of 12p, 1p, 2p, 2+12p, 5p, 10p, 25p and 50p. During World War II, rather crudely made 12p, 1p and 2+12p coins were issued. Before the war all coins were minted in Paris. [17]

After the war, the Arabic spelling was changed from girsh (غرش) to qirsh (قرش). Coins were issued in the period 1952 to 1986 in denominations of 1p, 2+12p, 5p, 10p, 25p, 50p and LL 1. No coins were issued between 1986 and 1994, when the current series of coins was introduced.

Coins in current use are: [18]

Coins of the Lebanese pound
ImageValueTechnical parametersColourDate of
Coins no longer in circulation [19]
Lebanon 5 Piastres 1924 obverse.jpg Lebanon 5 Piastres 1924 reverse.jpg 5pAluminium-bronze1924
Lebanon 5 Piastres 1925 obv.jpg Lebanon 5 Piastres 1925 rev.jpg 5pAluminium-bronze1925
50-Piastres-Back-Lebanon-1929.jpg 50-Piastres-Lebanon-1929.jpg 50p10 gSilver1929
Lebanon 5 Piastres obverse.jpg Lebanon 5 Piastres reverse.jpg 5p18 mm2.2 gCopper-nickel-aluminiumGolden yellow1968
10-Piastres-Back-Lebanon-1969.jpg 10-Piastres-Lebanon-1969.jpg 10p21 mm3.2 gCopper-nickel-aluminiumGolden yellow1968
25-Piastres-Back-Lebanon-1968.jpg 25-Piastres-Lebanon-1968.jpg 25p23.5 mm4 gNickel-brassGolden yellow1968
Lebanon 50 Piastres obv 1975.jpg Lebanon 50 Piastres rev 1975.jpg 50p24 mm6 gNickelWhite nickel1968
LL 127.5 mm8 gNickelWhite nickel1975
27 mm7.22 gNickel-plated steelWhite nickel1986
Coins in circulation [18]
LL 2520.5 mm1.3 mm2.8 gNickel-plated steelWhite nickel2002
Lebanon 50 Livres obverse 1996.jpg Lebanon 50 Livres reverse 1996.jpg LL 5019 mm1.15 mm2.25 gStainless steelWhite nickel1996
LL 5021.5 mm1.67 mm3gNickel-plated steel2006
Lebanon 100 livres 2000 obv.jpg Lebanon 100 livres 2000 rev.jpg LL 10022.5 mm1.80 mm4 gZinc and copperRed copper1995
100rectoSilver.png 100versoSilver.png LL 10022.5 mm1.83 mm4 gSteel and nickelWhite2003
LL 10022.5 mm1.80 mm
1.60 mm
4 gSteel and copperRed copper2006
250 Lebanese Pounds - Back.jpg 250 Lebanese Pounds - Front.jpg LL 25023.5 mm1.82 mm5 gCopper and aluminiumYellow gold1995
1.65 mm Nordic Gold Nordic Gold2006
500 Lebanese Pounds - Minted 2009 - Backside.jpg 500 Lebanese Pounds.jpg LL 50024.5 mm2.05 mm6 gNickel-plated steelWhite1995
For table standards, see the coin specification table.


LL 100 note of the 1964 series Lebanoncurr.jpg
LL 100 note of the 1964 series

Lebanon's first banknotes were issued by the Banque de Syrie et du Grand-Liban (Bank of Syria and Greater Lebanon) in 1925. Denominations ran from 25 piastres through to LL 100. In 1939, the bank's name was changed to the Bank of Syria and Lebanon. The first LL 250 notes appeared that year. Between 1942 and 1950, the government issued "small change" notes in denominations of 5p, 10p, 25p and 50p. After 1945, the Bank of Syria and Lebanon continued to issue paper money for Lebanon but the notes were denominated specifically in "Lebanese pounds" (ليرة لبنانية, livre libanaise) to distinguish them from Syrian notes. Notes for LL 1, LL 5, LL 10, LL 25, LL 50 and LL 100 were issued.

The Banque du Liban (Bank of Lebanon) was established by the Code of Money and Credit on 1 April 1964. [20] On 1 August 1963 decree No. 13.513 of the "Law of References: Banque Du Liban 23 Money and Credit" granted the Bank of Lebanon the sole right to issue notes in denominations of LL 1, LL 5, LL 10, LL 25, LL 50, LL 100, and LL 250, expressed in Arabic on the front, and French on the back. Higher denominations were issued in the 1980s and 1990s as inflation drastically reduced the currency's value.

Banknotes in current use are:

Circulating banknotes [21]
ImageValueDimensionsMain colourDate of issue
Lebanon 1000 Lira obverse.jpg Lebanon 1000 Lira reverse.jpg LL 1,000156 × 67 mmTeal1988
Lebanon 1000 lira 2006 obverse.jpg Lebanon 1000 lira 2006 reverse.jpg 115 × 60 mm2004
Lebanon 1000 lira 2011 obverse.jpg Lebanon 1000 lira 2011 reverse.jpg 2011
LL 5,000156 × 67 mmPink1994
140 × 70 mm1999
120 × 62 mm2004
LL 10,000145 × 73 mmYellow1998
127 × 66 mm2004
LL 20,000150 × 80 mmRed1994
130 × 72 mm2004
LL 50,000150 × 80 mmBlue1994
140 × 77 mm2004
LL 100,000161 × 90 mmGreen1994
147 × 82 mm2004
For table standards, see the banknote specification table.

All current notes feature an Arabic side with the value in Arabic script numerals of large size. The other side is in French with the serial number in both Arabic and Latin script and in bar code below the latter one.


On 1 February 2023, the Central Bank formally devalued the lira by 90%: as of February 2023, the official government rate is LBP15,000 per USD 1.00. [6]

Since September 2019, the exchange rate had forked into multiple distinct rates due to Lebanon's banking sector collapse. Within six months, five distinct Lebanese pound rates were defined against the US dollar, officially and unofficially. They were valued at:

The parallel (or black) market rate is significantly higher than the official exchange rate.


A Lollar is a Lebanese dollar, or a US dollar which is stuck in the banking system, really just a computer entry with no corresponding currency.

Dan Azzi

The "lollar" is a deposit denominated in US dollars in the Lebanese banking system. It is a nominal balance stuck or frozen in the Lebanese banks, with currency value simply as a computer entry. The lollar is not a tangible currency, but is a concept of an outstanding deposit in US dollars in Lebanese banks that can only be withdrawn in Lebanese pounds at a very reduced set rate [25] and considerably lower than the highly speculative black market rate which is multiple times higher. There are also limits put on the total amount that can be withdrawn on the lollars. [26] The term was coined by Harvard University economic fellow Dan Azzi [27] after the Lebanese banks suffered serious difficulties and restricted the amount of US dollars and other foreign currencies they could pay to their depositors.

See also

Current LBP exchange rates

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  10. Middle East International No 291, 9 January 1989; Jim Muir p.4
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  12. Lebanon currency drops to new low as financial meltdown deepens
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