BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon’s Energy Ministry on Tuesday increased gasoline and fuel prices by 35 per cent, a move that could lead to a sharp increase in prices of most commodities in the crisis-hit country.
The hike came days after caretaker Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab granted approval for financing fuel imports at a rate higher than the official exchange rate, effectively reducing critical fuel subsidies.
Lebanon is going through an unprecedented economic and financial collapse, coupled with a months-long political deadlock over the formation of a new government.
The developments pose the gravest threat to the small country’s stability since the end of its civil war three decades ago. The World Bank has said the crisis is among the worst the world has seen in 150 years.
Fistfights and shootings have erupted at some gas stations over the past weeks as frustrated citizens lined up for hours to fill up their tanks and the shortages have led to protests around Lebanon.
The price of gasoline, which in Lebanon is calculated for 20 litres reached LBP62,000 at the 35 per cent increase, or about LBP3.60 according to black market rates. Despite the hike, motorists still lined up at gas stations on Tuesday to fill their tanks. Diesel increased 38 per cent, to LBP46,100 — about LBP2.70 on the black market.
Fuel distributors representative Fadi Abu Shakra urged calm. He was quoted by the Lebanese state news agency NNA as saying that six fuel tankers began offloading oil products after midnight on Monday to ease demands.