Lebanon raises fuel prices by 50-70%

Beirut (Al Ittihad, Agencies)

Yesterday, Lebanon raised fuel prices by between 50 and 70 percent, in a step that comes within the framework of the gradual lifting of fuel subsidies with the depletion of the dollar reserves at the Banque du Liban, while the country is plunged into a downward spiral of economic collapse.
Thus, fuel prices in Lebanon, which has been witnessing an economic collapse for two years, which the World Bank has ranked among the worst in the world since 1850, have risen nearly three times in just two months.
Lebanon has been witnessing a severe fuel crisis for months, which worsened this month with the Banque du Liban announcing its intention to open credits to purchase fuel in dollars at the black market price of nearly 20,000 pounds per dollar, which sparked panic among the people who flocked to gas stations for fear of a massive increase in prices.
The decision of the Banque du Liban sparked widespread controversy among politicians. Yesterday, the authorities announced a settlement requiring the import of fuel at a price of 8,000 pounds to the dollar until the end of September.
This is the second time that the authorities have adjusted the price of fuel imports, as at the end of June they began financing the import of fuels at the price of 3900 pounds to the dollar instead of the official price fixed at 1507.
Based on the temporary settlement, the General Directorate of Oil announced yesterday, an increase in the price of octane 98 gasoline from 77,500 to 133,200 pounds (an increase of 67 percent), and 95 octane gasoline from 79,700 to 129 thousand pounds (66 percent).
The price of a bottle of domestic gas rose from 58,500 to 90,400 pounds (50 percent) and diesel oil from 58,500 to 101,500 pounds (73 percent).
The Banque du Liban was supporting the import of fuel through a mechanism whereby it provides 85 percent of the total value of the import cost, according to the official exchange rate, while importers pay the rest according to the black market exchange rate.
The Banque du Liban has been demanding for months to lift subsidies on basic materials with the depletion of the mandatory reserve in dollars, which is a percentage deposited by private banks with the Central Bank in exchange for their deposits in foreign currency.
The fuel crisis is reflected in various sectors, including hospitals, bakeries, communications and foodstuffs. Over the past months, the ability of the Electricité du Liban to provide nutrition to all regions has declined, which has led to an increase in rationing hours to exceed 22 hours per day.
Private generators are no longer able to secure the fuel needed to cover the hours of power outages, forcing them to rationing and raising their tariffs significantly as a result of buying diesel from the black market.
The majority of the Lebanese receive their wages in the local currency, which has lost more than 90 percent of its value against the dollar, while about 80 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, according to the United Nations.

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