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Libyans sell jewellery as economic crisis pushes many into poverty

Thursday, November 16, 2017 - 02:00

Some desperate Libyan families are selling jewellery for scarce banknotes as the dinar rapidly loses value and inflation is estimated to be at 25-30 percent. Pascale Davies reports.

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In the backstreets of Libya's capital, an economic crisis is unfolding. In Tripoli's Gold Market, many families are selling their jewelry and foreign currency savings on the black market to make ends meet. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) GOLD TRADER, SALAHEDIN ZARTI, SAYING: "Families have started flocking here in large numbers as a result of the circumstances that we all know, resulting from a decline in liquidity of their personal finances, forcing them to sell their gold. Most families come from all over; from Tripoli, and other neighboring cities." Six years of post-dictatorship chaos has taken its toll. The Libyan currency has fallen 200 percent on the parallel market since early last year. In the past two weeks the drop in the black market value of the dinar has fueled inflation that is already around 25-30 percent. Many have lost trust in banks and prefer to keep money at home. The drop in the value of the currency has also hampered medical supplies to hospitals. Even salaries that are delivered are not enough to pay the bills. The U.N. estimates that about 1.3 million people in Libya have been in need of humanitarian assistance this year. Although oil output production has lifted in 2017 to about 1 billion barrels a day, output is stuck well below what it was pumping before the 2011 uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi. International experts say the only way to resolve the issue is to devalue the dinar from the official exchange rate of 1.37 to the dollar. But agreeing to an economic strategy in a country dominated by armed factions with rival governments and no budgets is no easy task.

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Libyans sell jewellery as economic crisis pushes many into poverty

Thursday, November 16, 2017 - 02:00