The defiant move reflects growing concern about the political stalemate in efforts to form a new government, and the worsening financial crisis. Riad Salameh, governor of the Banque du Liban, Lebanon’s central bank, reportedly told President Michel Aoun, caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab and caretaker Minister of Finance Ghazi Wazni last week that there is only enough cash in reserve to fund subsidies of basic items such as bread, fuel and medicines for three months. It has $19.6 billion available, $17.5 billion of which must be kept to cover a portion of deposits by bank customers. This leaves $2.1 billion for subsidies, which cost $700 million a month.

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