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Lebanon: motorists queue for petrol prior to expected price rises

March 7, 2022 at 12:51 pm

Lebanese citizens wait in long queues to fill their gas cylinders and to fill their vehicles at gas stations as economic crisis worsens in Beirut, Lebanon on 12 August 2021. [Wassim Samih Seifeddine – Anadolu Agency]

There were long queues for petrol in Lebanon today ahead of the announcement of expected price rises by the Ministry of Energy and Water, Anadolu has reported. According to the agency’s correspondent, queues of cars have been lined up in front of petrol stations since Saturday. Prices are rising as an effect of the Russia-Ukraine war.

Minister of Energy and Water Walid Fayyad told the Lebanese newspaper An-Nahar that, “We are not in a crisis as to the availability of petrol in the local market.” On Sunday evening, he joined the Minister of Economy and Trade, Amin Salam, on surprise visits to petrol stations in Beirut, where reports surfaced that a number are hoarding fuel.

The ministry of energy issues a table of fuel prices twice a week in Lebanon. Prices change according to two factors: the exchange rate of the lira against the dollar, and the global price of oil per barrel.

Fuel prices in the country fell last Thursday, as the price of a barrel reached 397,000 Lebanese pounds ($264 based on the official exchange rate of 1,510 Lebanese pounds per dollar) while the price of diesel was 375,000 Lebanese pounds ($250).

The official value of the Lebanese pound against the dollar has been stable for more than a quarter of a century, but a real value shift started in December 2019. It then began to deteriorate gradually until it reached 33,000 pounds in January. Today it stands at 21,000 pounds.

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