BEIRUT, June 29 (Reuters) – The Lebanese government raised fuel prices by more than a third on Tuesday, a move aimed at alleviating crippling scarcity but will increase pressure on impoverished consumers.
The government effectively cut fuel subsidies last week as Lebanon grapples with a catastrophic economic collapse that has dropped its currency by more than 90% in less than two years. Continue reading
The Department of Energy said the average price of 20 liters of 95-octane gasoline was increased by 35% to 61,100 pounds. That’s $ 40 at Lebanon’s official exchange rate, but less than $ 4 at Tuesday’s parallel market rate. Diesel was increased by 12,800 pounds, or 38%, to 46,100 pounds.
Brawls have become commonplace as motorists queue for hours to partially fill their tanks amid expectations of new deliveries. In a fight at a gas station, a knife was pulled, said a Reuters witness.
The fuel dealer spokesman said six ships began unloading overnight, the National News Agency reported.
“What breaks my heart the most is the old people, older than my father, who sit at gas stations – those with blood pressure, diabetes, and those who God knows why – and no one cares for them.” said a man who was waiting for his snake and called his name as Nour.
Protesters blocked streets with burning rubbish and tires in Beirut on Monday. President Michel Aoun said the new prices should alleviate the crisis.
The central bank announced on Monday that it would provide lines of credit for imports of fuel at Â£ 3,900 per dollar, lower than the official Â£ 1,500 exchange rate used under the subsidy program.
Dollars changed hands at about Â£ 16,700 in the parallel market on Tuesday, a trader said.
Reporting from Maha El Dahan; Editing by Christian Schmollinger
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