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AMMAN: The Syrian pound fell to a record low on the black market on Wednesday, hit by the ripple effect of currency woes in neighboring Lebanon with which it has extensive business and banking ties, dealers and bankers said.

Traders said it cost close to 4,000 to buy one dollar on the street on Wednesday after anxious dealers watched the Lebanese pound collapse to a new low of 10,000 to the dollar on Tuesday.

Two leading Damascus-based licensed exchange dealers said the Lebanese currency’s fall dealt a psychological blow to dealers trading its Syrian counterpart, which had already witnessed a rapid declines in recent weeks.

It has fallen by around 40% this year alone.

The Syrian pound’s last tumble happened last summer when it hit a psychological barrier of 3,000 to the dollar over fears that tougher US sanctions would worsen the economy.

The pound’s fall has hit business activity, with many merchants and trading firms reluctant to sell or buy in a country where many turn to dollar savings to preserve wealth.

The pound’s collapse has driven up inflation and aggravated hardship as Syrians struggle to afford food, power and other basics.—Reuters