On the impact of the accelerating economic collapse, the Lebanese family’s expenses for securing food are now equal to five times the minimum wage, according to a study by the American University of Beirut on Wednesday, at a time when inflation rates continue to rise in parallel with the deterioration of the local currency.
Since the summer of 2019, Lebanon has been facing an unprecedented economic collapse that is considered one of the worst in the world since the middle of the nineteenth century, according to the World Bank. More than half of the population is below the poverty line, while the Lebanese pound has lost more than 90% of its value against the dollar.
In a study published on Wednesday, the Crisis Observatory at the American University of Beirut stated that “according to the simulation of food prices in the first half of July, the minimum cost of food for a family of five became estimated per month at more than 3,500,000 Lebanese pounds,” without counting. Water, electricity and gas costs.
As a result, according to the study, “the family’s budget to secure its food only is estimated at about five times the minimum wage.”
The minimum wage is equal to 675,000 Syrian pounds, which is equivalent to 450 dollars before the crisis and 30 dollars today, according to the exchange rate on the black market. Most Lebanese get their wages in local currency.
According to the study, the prices of basic foodstuffs alone increased by more than fifty percent in less than a month, after the cost of ten basic food commodities, such as vegetables, grains, dairy, beef and oil, rose by more than 700 percent in two years.
According to the study, “the escalating and weekly rise in the prices of basic materials indicates the beginning of Lebanon’s slide towards hyperinflation.”
Nasser Yassin, supervisor of the crisis observatory, told AFP that the new indicators “are very dangerous because we are witnessing an excessive rise (in prices) in a very short period.”
In light of the scarcity of the Central Bank’s reserves, the authorities began to rationalize or lift subsidies on the import of basic commodities such as flour, fuel and medicines. Today, the price of a pack of “Panadol Advance” head housing exceeded 16 thousand pounds, compared to 2500 pounds previously.
The Crisis Monitor study stated that with the continued rise in prices, “the vast majority of families in Lebanon will find it difficult to secure their livelihood with the minimum required without family or family support, or without the assistance of relief institutions.”
Despite the economic collapse, the rival political forces have not been able to form a government since the resignation of Hassan Diab’s government last August following the explosion of the Beirut port. Nine months after his appointment, Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri apologized last weekend for forming a new government due to sharp political differences.
The President of the Republic, Michel Aoun, called for binding parliamentary consultations to be held next Monday in order for the parliamentary blocs to nominate their new candidate to form the government.