Economy Ministry Raises Price of Bread as Economic Crisis Bites

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Economy Ministry Raises Price of Bread as Economic Crisis Bites

The Economy Ministry raised the price of subsidized bread for the fifth time in a year Tuesday, as the country’s economic and financial crisis keeps deepening.

The ministry said 910 grams (2 pounds) of bread will be sold for 3,250 pounds, up from 2,750 pounds.

It said the reason behind the latest increase is that the Central Bank has ended sugar subsidies, which adds to the cost of bread production.

Lebanon is grappling with the worst economic and financial crisis in its modern history - one that the World Bank has said ranks as one of the worst the world has seen since in the past 150 years.

The Lebanese currency has lost 90 percent of its value in 20 months, breaking a record low last week of LL15,550 to the dollar on the black market. The official exchange rate remains 1,507 pounds to the dollar.

The Central Bank has been cutting back on subsidies as foreign currency reserves have dropped from $30 billion at the start of the crisis in October 2019, to nearly $15 billion at the present time.

Most Lebanese have seen their purchase power drop and more than half the population now lives below the poverty line. There are severe shortages in gasoline, medicines and other vital products. Electricity cuts last for much of the day.

The government in June last year raised the price of flatbread, a staple in Lebanon, by more than 30 percent - for the first time in a decade. It has since raised the price three times before Tuesday. - With AP

Source: The Daily Star and AP