People with savings in the bank are scrambling to get the money out.
When she heard Lebanese banks would limit cash withdrawals, Rita, a doctor, rushed out to buy a $10,000 Rolex watch on her credit card, anxious to protect some of her savings. “It’s better than keeping my money in the bank,” she said.
Every week, account holders line up for their quota of cash – for some less than $200 – from their banks, which have also blocked foreign money transfers as Lebanon sinks deep into economic crisis.
People with savings in the bank are scrambling to get the money out, buying jewellery, cars and land with credit cards or cashier’s cheques.
Several people said they feared even tighter controls, a haircut on their deposits, bank failure or a devaluation of the Lebanese pound.
In the capital, Beirut, staff at several jewellery stores said customers had poured in recently looking to buy gold and diamonds, sometimes to sell them abroad, though most jewellers are now only accepting cash.