Middle East: How They Broke the Bank

MIDDLE EAST

Lebanon was plunged into economic crisis when its huge Intra Bank shut down last month, and the situation is steadily getting worse. For three days all other Lebanese-owned banks were closed; when they reopened, $35 million was withdrawn almost immediately. Virtually none of it has been redeposited in Lebanese banks. Since Intra held 38% of the country's deposits, its continued shutdown has meant a disabling shortage of cash. Lebanese restaurants report up to a 50% falloff in business; in the gambling casinos, the dealers are playing blackjack with one another. Worse, merchants have now lost their credit ratings, must...

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