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Lebanese Premier Vows to Keep Currency Pegged to Dollar

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri speaks during a press conference after the inauguration of new measures at the Rafik Hariri International Airport in Beirut, Aug. 20, 2019.

Lebanon's prime minister is pledging to keep the national currency pegged to the dollar and says the government won't consider an International Monetary Fund program that would leave it to the markets to decide the price of the Lebanese pound.

Saad Hariri told CNBC late on Tuesday: “We believe that keeping the Lebanese pound at 1,500 (to the dollar) is the only stable way to move forward with these reforms.”

The Lebanese pound has been pegged to the dollar since 1997.

Hariri's comments came a day after Lebanese leaders declared “an economic state of emergency” to resolve the country's economic crisis.

Lebanon has one of the world's highest public debts, standing at 150% of gross domestic product. Growth has plummeted and the budget deficit has reached 11% of GDP.