Conflict hits dinar, raises prices in Libyan capital

Thu Apr 28, 2011 6:53pm GMT

* Libyan dinar stabilised at about 1.85 to the dollar

* Prices of some imported goods up, shoppers say

By Lin Noueihed

TRIPOLI, April 28 (Reuters) - In Tripoli's gold souqs and on its black market, a dollar buys you more dinars now than it did before the war and in the supermarkets prices are beginning to creep up as sanctions and currency woes bite.

Banks still exchange money at the official rate of 1.2 to the dollar, but the black market rate hovers between 1.8 and 1.9 dinars having reached over 3 dinars when short-lived protests shook the capital in February. "People wanted to buy dollars at the start and they bought a lot in the first week," said one jeweller who changes money on the side.

"The dollar was at 3.00 dinars or more at the beginning when things were really confused. Now it is at 1.85. It has stabilised a little. There's no fear now."

Demonstrations have fizzled out in Tripoli since the start of the rebellion against Muammar Gaddafi in February saw rebels take over the country's second-largest city, Benghazi.

Gaddafi's forces have since restored their grip over key parts of western Libya. The United Nations has imposed sanctions banning the sale of military goods to Libya, prohibited dealings with some state companies and imposed a no-fly zone.   Continued...

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